March is Magic on Bowen Island

Posted: Fri Mar 09 20:57:00 UTC 2018

March is magic on Bowen Island. It's the liminal space between a frozen winter and the hope of spring. The earth begins to waken, and so do we, as the scents and sights change all around us.

In this time of in-betweenness, a vacation away can be both a last chance for introspection, and a first step into opening up the soul for the new year.

As the tail end of winter  draws to a close, take this last chance to curl up with a book by the fire without feeling the guilt of wasting a beautiful day. A vacation away can be one last time for enjoying "hygge" with family during Spring Break (the popular Danish concept for the quality of cozy contented togetherness), by playing board games and watching movies after an afternoon of beach combing—things you may have pictured doing at Christmas, but were too busy cooking, cleaning, and shopping to make happen. Enjoy it now, before summer camps and good weather draw us all out and away from the house.

At the same time, it's also the first chance to truly enjoy the outdoors, as the rains abate and the sun makes it's new year debut.

Daffodils at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway

Our eyes revel in the daffodils, the crocuses, the first of the spring blooms. Pops of colour echo our yearning for vibrance after the dull greys of winter. On Bowen Island, enjoy the flowering bulbs planted by the Garden Club all throughout Snug Cove. Hiking here is at its best — the weather is mild, but not too hot, and the trails are still quiet before summer. The crowds are far off still, while you idle in coffee shops and search for groceries to make your favourite meal. This is your chance to experience Bowen Island as the locals do in the off-season, before the summer rush, but with the best spring weather.

Crippen Park. Photo by Davina Haisell

In this time of sneaky sun beams peaking through the clouds, fresh mists, and surprise sunsets, celebrate the awakening of soul by connecting with nature on Bowen Island. Only in spaces where there are trees, water, blooms, and fresh air all around can we truly appreciate the spiritual nature of this transitional time of year, and take the time to honour our physical and spiritual connection to this magical season.

To book your Bowen Island March vacation, have a look at our rental properties here, and do contact us if you need any vacation planning guidance.

Short-Term, Not Short-Sighted: Vacation Rentals on Bowen Island

Posted: Mon Feb 19 23:31:00 UTC 2018

Killarney Lake on Bowen Island   photo taken by Jan Stevens

Restrictions on short-term vacation rentals (STVR) are becoming more common in municipalities across BC. While there are some concerns many of these municipalities have in common, such as housing and regulatory issues, it's important to consider the many factors around this complicated issue before assuming that restricting vacation rentals will have the same effect in all locales, let alone a beneficial effect. Bowen Island is a unique case, and it's likely that restricting short-term rentals here won't solve the housing problem, but certainly will limit tourist dollars and employment opportunities.

Vancouver Restricts Short-Term Rentals

Our city neighbour, Vancouver, has seen the recent restriction of short-term vacation rentals. The belief is that this action will return 1000 real units to the long-term rental market. Vancouver has a variety of units available on Airbnb and other rental sites, such as suites in houses, rooms, and whole apartments.

Beginning April 1, 2018, Vancouver will implement its ban on short-term rentals of secondary suites and restrictions on renting primary residences as short-term rentals. It is part of a set of initiatives to free up potential long-term rental units, be they suites, or homes bought as investments and never used otherwise.

The Coastal Mountains as seen from the Lazy Bowen Hideaway  photo by Jan Stevens

Would a STVR Ban on Bowen Affect Housing?

We sometimes hear the call on Bowen to ban short-term vacation rentals as well, the main reason being that there is a need for long-term rental housing. These two issues aren't necessarily linked, however, because, on Bowen Island, the shape of rentals is a little different than in other municipalities like Vancouver.

There are whole houses here that owners use for their vacations, left empty part of the year. There are also suites in houses that the owners want to keep available for family and friends to use when they visit. In many of these situations, the owners have never rented these units out long-term, and never intend to, as this would restrict their ability to use it themselves. Banning short-term vacation rentals in these cases would leave these homes mostly empty, and would no longer serve the community by providing places to stay for visitors who spend their tourist dollars here.

Housing is indeed needed on Bowen for the valuable workers and citizens who make our economy and community run, but it's affordable housing that's required. Many of the vacation rentals we see, if rented long-term, would not be affordable to those who need housing the most on Bowen. These second homes are often high-end and would rent for more than the average service worker can afford.

If homeowners were forced to rent out their secondary properties long-term, not short-term, in order to keep and enjoy the property themselves, this could lead to situations where renters are asked to leave for whole months or seasons. In fact, we've seen this happen on Bowen Island already, where homeowners choose to rent long-term instead of short-term but still want to use the property themselves. On other popular vacationing islands like Hornby Island, this is common, and many year-round residents have to move out for two or three months in the summer and find temporary housing. If they can't find it on-island, they seek elsewhere, away from their home community and places of work.

It's true that there isn't enough housing for summer employees for restaurants and other businesses, kept busy by the fair-weather tourists. Having unstable long-term rentals where renters must agree to move off-island in the summer isn't a viable solution. Instead, it further limits the summer employee pool when it's needed the most.

Short-term vacation rentals and long-term rental housing are not mutually exclusive concepts. Banning the former won't solve the latter here on Bowen Island. A ban would, however, make a sizeable negative impact on the economy.

Eaglecliff Beach, Bowen Island  photo taken by Jan Stevens

Alternative Solutions

PST on Airbnb

Bowen Island Accommodations is proud to pay into the British Columbia coffers by charging the 8% hotel provincial sales tax plus 5% GST. Bowen Island has a handful of businesses that currently pay this hotel PST. However, that will soon change with the new agreement between BC and Airbnb; all short-term rentals booked through Airbnb will be collecting the 8% Provincial Sales Tax.

It is the first of its kind in Canada. Once these legislative and regulatory changes are made, Airbnb will begin collecting the 8% provincial sales tax (PST) and an up-to-3% municipal and regional district tax (MRDT) on short-term accommodations provided in BC through its platform.

We are pleased to learn that the revenue raised from the new tax agreement will be used to fund affordable housing projects in our province and hopefully help to address the Bowen Island affordable housing dilemma.

Review of Long-Term Rental Regulations

The BC long-term rental regulations provide necessary protections against unfair landlords. We are also aware of cases where these protections have had undue impacts on landlords, where property owners renting to long-term tenants have incurred extensive unreimbursed damages, and have had to deal with long eviction times with limited owner protections.

Based on these challenging and expensive experiences, short-term renting can appear more desirable for owners. We believe it may be beneficial to the long-term rental inventory for the province to take another look at the regulations to negotiate new equity between the owner and renter.

The Benefits of STVR on Bowen Island

Short-term vacation rentals provide places to stay for visitors. Unlike other municipalities, we don't have hotels here, and there is a high demand from tourists for places to stay, more so than is provided by conventional bed and breakfasts. Many people want their own space or a large space to bring a whole family, and this can be provided by short-term vacation rental homes and suites.

Tourists are spending money on their rental, food, gas, culture, and experiences on Bowen Island, and are integral to our local economy. The promotion that we and other vacation rental owners do in the off-season means that we all benefit from tourist dollars not just in the summer, but throughout the year, which helps keep businesses (restaurants, shops, services) open for locals to enjoy as well.

Some of those who benefit from these year-round tourist dollars are workers involved directly in the vacation rental economy. One Bowen Island Accommodations property made $250,000 in improvements in the last four years, all reliant on local contractors, architect, and casual labourers.  Vacation rental offerings must stay well-maintained and aesthetically up-to-date, and local workers help us to this end. The regular employment provided to our valuable cleaning staff and trades professionals are dollars we as business owners spend that also circulate in the local economy. If these short-term rentals were banned and left empty for occasional owner use, as they likely would be, these employment opportunities would be gone or heavily reduced.

Bowen Island Accommodations operates five vacation rentals on Bowen. In the past year, we have spent:

  • $35,500 on housekeepers
  • $4,993 on gardeners
  • $31,970 on contractors and handymen. 
That equals close to $72,500 spent on Bowen Island, which will be recirculated throughout the local economy.

Neighbouring properties to our vacation rentals benefit from the regular maintenance and improvements, adding value to the total neighbourhood.

Tunstall Bay    photo taken by Raf

Keeping Profiles Low and Standards High

Having a culture of well-managed short-term rentals on Bowen is essential if short-term rentals are to be accepted by the community.

At Bowen Island Accommodations, we are on-call to address any noise complaints, and we strive to have our vacation rentals fit in quietly with the surrounding neighbourhoods. Long-term tenants who are noisy or a disturbance to the neighbourhood can be reported but difficult to evict if that is the preferred outcome for the neighbours or home-owners. Short-term renters are there temporarily, and in our experience, most are here to enjoy the quiet and peace of our island. At BIA, we strive to connect with other vacation rental managers through the Bowen Island Accommodations Association and Tourism Bowen Island to share best practices and communicate about the importance of noise management and neighbourhood integrity.

Through our communications, we also aim to provide visitors with value-added information about Bowen Island. We have been building our website up to be a resource for all information tourists could want and need while on Bowen, including lists of activities, restaurants, events to go to, and services to enjoy, and featuring these on our blog and newsletters as well. We encourage our guests to sample all that Bowen Island has to offer, and by doing so, direct their tourist dollars to the community.

With Airbnb, VRBO, and other online platforms, anyone can manage their vacation rental. Those who are new to this income stream may not know the importance of considering neighbours or promoting Bowen businesses. By staying connected as a community of vacation rental providers, we can share our combined knowledge so that short-term rentals continue to be a real benefit to Bowen Island.

The issue of affordable housing and people using short-term vacation renting as a means of income is a greater issue than just Bowen Island's, but Bowen Island has it's own context to consider as well. Affordable housing projects and policies are needed, and solutions are out there, but banning short-term rentals here isn't one of them. A deeper look at the issues involved will show that the loss of short-term rentals will have unintended effects and that the real-time benefits to the community and economy are many.

The Off-Season Magic of The Eastman Waterfront Retreat

Posted: Sat Feb 10 00:44:00 UTC 2018

The Eastman Waterfront Retreat is a show-stopping Bowen Island vacation rental property with panoramic views of gulf island wonder. And as with all gulf islands, natural beauty comes with a variety of weather in all seasons, from spectacular sunshine to moody watercolour-like washes of blues and greys.

What our off-season guests know (and probably keep secret), is that even the occasional rainy days have a special beauty all on their own, and the Eastman Waterfront retreat is poised to feature this beauty perfectly. Here are a few reasons why the fall, winter, and spring are great times to book your restful vacation at the Retreat.

The Cozy Factor

For some, winter vacations have a whole other purpose than summer vacations. In summer, the weather is lovely and guests want to leave the house to explore the trails and water. In contrast, winter getaways are about self-care, introspection, and getting cozy, and the Eastman Retreat fosters these qualities admirably. 

The bathtub in the master bathroom is made for looking out to a cold sea from a warm bubble bath. Shift from the infrared sauna to the king bed in the evening, and wake up well-rested to a view of the water. With a few books on the bedside table and coffee brewing in the kitchen, achieving peace and rest is easy here.

The energy-efficient fireplace puts out a beckoning glow, with logs we provide for your stay. The facing sectional couch and ottoman encourage you to put up your feet and cuddle under a blanket. With the flatscreen TV sitting adjacent, you don't have to move an inch to switch from real fireplace to fireplace channel (if that's your thing), or movies and cable. Turn your head, and another view awaitsHowe Sound, featuring all of its inhabitants.

Wildlife Watching

All rooms in this seaside house face Howe Sound and the forested and serene Hutt Island. Without the busy boating activity that summer brings, you are likely to see sea lions, seals, otters, waterfowl, diving birds, and eagles, and if you're lucky, whales, which have been returning to the now de-industrialized Howe Sound in search of schooling fish. The Retreat is a wildlife-watchers' dream, and you don't have to brave winter weather to reap the rewards of being close to nature.

Good For All Group Sizes

The fall, winter, and spring are great times for family gatherings on Bowen Island, and especially so at the Eastman Retreat. If the weather is grey one day, then cozy up by the fire and read to each other, or watch movies from the large couch. 

With three bedrooms and extensive floor space, your family or group of friends can spread out, with no one getting in each others' way. Yet there are plenty of design features that will bring you together, such as the living room sectional sofa, the large dining room table, the breakfast nook, and the barstools around the kitchen island. And since our mild fall, winter, and spring coastal weather is variable, it's likely you will get days bright and warm enough to enjoy our propane BBQ and patio dining furniture on the sweeping deck.

Even if you're on your own or a couple in search of a small BC cabin for rent in the woods, the Eastman Retreat has what you'd intended to findpeace and tranquility, away from it all. Use the downstairs for your living space, cook a romantic meal in the well-equipped kitchen, cuddle by the fire, and then mosey into the bedroom for a nap, all without climbing a stair. Then again, there is the lounging loft upstairs for quiet afternoon reading or sketching sessions. The expansive design of high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and far-reaching vistas expands the mind, perfect for a creative solo retreat.


While all of our Bowen Island Accommodations properties are situated in peaceful settings, the Retreat is perhaps the most secluded, almost at the end of its road, on the quiet northwest side of Bowen Island. While traffic noise is virtually zero out here, any sound from boats or the occasional chainsaw in the distance occur mainly when weather is nice, in the summer. So fall, winter, and spring here bring an extra layer of quietude.

If you're looking to get away for a special kind of vacation, one that focuses on wellness, rest, wildlife, and peace, the Eastman Waterfront Retreat meets and exceeds all expectations on all fronts.
Book for the restfulness of the off-season, and reap the rewards of our discounted shoulder-season rates. Discover the features of this magical part of the island in this gorgeous house for yourself. You'll want to keep it a secret too.

Book now at

Opening Soon! What's New in Bowen Island's Snug Cove

Posted: Fri Jan 12 21:43:00 UTC 2018

Snug Cove. Photo by David Stanley.
Have you visited Bowen Island this past year? Snug Cove, our sleepy little village, has been getting a makeover, with several new buildings popping up. For those curious as to what to expect in these new places, we've gathered some information and mini-interviews about the exciting offerings coming soon to Snug Cove.


Catching Stars Gallery

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, water, plant, tree, outdoor and nature
West Coast Dreams by Marie Neys
Bowen is an island chock-full of artists, so it's no surprise that one of the new features in Snug Cove will be an art gallery featuring the works of local artists. (For a full listing of art galleries on Bowen, see our Arts page here.) We spoke with co-founder of Catching Stars Gallery, Marie Neys, to get the scoop on this exciting addition to Bowen arts and culture.

BIA: What artists and what kinds of artworks will visitors find at Catching Stars Gallery?
Marie: Catching Stars Gallery offers a wide range of fine art, giftable art and home decor.  Over 25 local and off-island artists will be represented. There will be 500 square feet of gallery space and 300 square feet of art framing space, with paintings, jewellery, sculpture, fibre arts, accessories, glass, mosaics, home decor, and more.

Emilie Kaplun, Pauulet Hohn, and Marie Neys:
artists and founders of Catching Stars Gallery

BIA: What's the story behind you deciding to open a gallery?
Marie: Pauulet Hohn, Emilie Kaplun and I dreamed of providing a venue where artists can showcase their new works in a permanent location in the heart of Snug Cove.

BIA: Why "Catching Stars?"
Marie: The symbolism can be taken 2 ways. The Gallery will be featuring many of the star artists on Bowen,  plus we live by the ocean and one of the sea creatures that fascinate us are the beautiful red and purple starfish.

BIA: How does Catching Stars fit with what Bowen Island means to you?
Marie: Just as Bowen Island is a rich diverse community we know Catching Stars Gallery will offer a diverse array of art, gifts and home decor. Our mantra is "Find what Inspires You!"

Some of the artists who will show
their works at Catching Stars Gallery

BIA: Anything else you'd like to add?
Marie: Just a hearty thank you for taking the time to include us! We will be organizing our promotional materials in the upcoming months and would be happy to provide them to your guests.

Catching Stars Gallery opens this winter 2018, in the new building in the Snug Cove intersection that will house the new Bowen Island Pub. Folks can find more information online at:

Bowen Island Pub

As both a locals' friendly hangout and music scene staple, we look forward to seeing how the new Bowen Pub building will enhance the great food, service, and fun it has provided to Bowen for so many years. As the go-to spot for Bowen live music and themed parties, (you don't want to miss Hallowe'en, New Year's Eve, or Movember at the Pub), we can only expect bigger and better from the new venue, rumoured to open in late spring or summer this year, and to have a larger stagefor more DJ nights, Blues Nights, and all-around good times.

The new pub building will hold not only the Pub and Catching Stars Gallery (see above), but also retail on the first floor and much-needed housing for Pub employees on the top level. Once the new building is ready to go, the owners' plan is for the old pub to be demolished and a new rear building will replace it, containing town homes, apartments, and retail space.

The Bowen Pub was chosen as one of West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce's Businesses of the Year in 2015, thanks to its leadership and contributions in the community by (then new) owners Glenn and Meredith Cormier.
Find out more about the new Pub construction at:

Copper Spirit Distillery

The long-empty lot between the Snug Cafe and Doc Morgan's is being transformed this year into a brand new Snug Cove building and business, Copper Spirit Distillery, owned and operated by locals Candice and Miguel Kabantsov. Candice kindly took the time to answer our questions about the business and building, and their artisanal products soon to appear on shelves and in cocktails on and off-island.

BIA: Describe for us what Copper Spirit will be like for visitors to see and experience?
Candice: Copper Spirit Distillery, which is set to be open in June, will primarily be a small craft distillery and tasting room producing organic vodka, gin, and whisky. In the tasting area, guests will be surrounded by beautiful copper stills while sipping our handcrafted spirits and discussing the production process and flavour profiles with our master distiller. The lounge, set to open in the fall, will be a place to relax, unwind and connect. Our focus is mindful consumption with an emphasis on health inspired cocktails and elixirs.

BIA: How did you come to decide to build a distillery?
Candice: We decided to build a distillery because we want to create a sustainable business that supports the local economy. We are passionate about mixology and health, and endeavour to design the healthiest possible spirits and cocktails using local organic grains, fruits and botanicals.

Concept image of the Copper Spirit Distillery building.

BIA: Tell us about the products you'll be creating there, and will they be available for purchase off-island as well?
Candice: Though our focus is primarily organic vodka, gin and whisky you can expect to find various concoctions on the go at any given time: multi-grain spirits, house-malted grain spirits, house-brewed kombucha and ginger beer, infusions, and seasonal fruit liquors. All spirits will be available for online purchase, at the tasting room, and distributed to restaurants and private liquor stores throughout the mainland.

BIA: What does Bowen Island mean to you, and how does your distillery complement that?
Candice: Bowen Island has been our home for the last six years. It is our peaceful refuge and we feel absolutely lucky to be part of the few that call it home. Bowen Island is a great tourist destination with a small town feel. The community, scenic mountain backdrops and the ocean within walking distance cannot be beat. Copper Spirit Distillery will be a relaxing gathering place for locals and visitors to connect, learn about artisanal spirits, and experience unique craft cocktails.

Cove Commons

Photo from

The Cove Commons, set to open in January 2018, is a vision made reality this past year, thanks to community donors, fundraisers, and grants from the Federal and provincial governments, as well as many volunteers involved in all aspects. A partnership between the Bowen Island Public Library and the Bowen Island Arts Council, visitors and locals alike will enjoy this new building right at the entrance to Snug Cove, just off Government Road.

The main entrance off Cardena Road will house the new Gallery @ Cove Commons, featuring ten exhibits a year of local and off-island artists, as well as music and literary events, art classes, and more.

If your visit lands on a weekend, check the Bowen Island Arts Council website to see if an art show opening or other event is happening during your stay, as the Arts Council is the heart of Bowen Island culture, and you'll be sure to have a good time. Either way, be sure to pop in to see the current exhibit, and perhaps purchase some art cards to send to friends while on your lovely island vacation. 

Illustration by Jeff Swain

Behind the Gallery, in the other half of the Cove Commons, sits the Annie Laurie Wood Annex of the library, which will feature comfortable seating areas for independent work and use of internet. While you're there, browse the old library building, accessible via the Annex, and enjoy this historical old general store-turned-library, recently renovated (November 2017) to match up with the Annex.

We recommend borrowing DVDs and New Books from their well-curated collection to enjoy during your stay on Bowen. Getting a local area card, a BC One Card, or a visitor's card to borrow items is easy as pie, just bring some ID with your photo and address.

Bowen Island Public Library
Bowen Island Art Council
Find out more about the Cove Commons here.

Getting Around Bowen Island

Posted: Mon Jan 08 21:59:00 UTC 2018

We are often asked "Do we need to bring our car to Bowen?" and the short answer is "It depends." If you are fit, used to taking transit, walking a lot, are open to hitchhiking, and/or are okay not seeing every corner of the island, then you'll do fine not bringing a car. See below for more on non-car methods of travelling and what to expect.

However, you will want to bring a car if you plan to bring a lot of stuff, want to explore and get from A to B quickly, and plan to take home lots of treasures. Driving times are short on-island, but walking times are much longer due to hilly and winding roads.

Read on for more about all the ways to get around Bowen and what to expect.

Bringing Your Car

If you decide to bring your car, here are some notes on car access to each of the Bowen Island Accommodations properties. You'll be glad to know we have a gas station here which includes diesel, though weekend and holiday hours may be limited. However, as of this writing, We don't have an electric car charging station.

Car Access to Bowen Island Accommodation Properties

The Evergreen Cottage & Eastman Waterfront Retreat are easy to drive to, with no special driving instructions or vehicle requirements.

The Eastman Cottage is at the bottom of a sloping gravel driveway. Driving down the driveway, you'll see there is space midway to turn around and back into the parking space in front of the cabin, parking facing up the hill. We recommend doing this if your car is front-wheel drive. Twice in the last four years front wheel drive vehicles who drove down the driveway found it difficult to back out of the parking area and the tow truck was called.

View coming down the Eastman Cottage driveway:
take a left to turn around and back down to the parking spot you see on the right.

The Lazy Bowen Hideaway and Lazy B Waterfront Suite are at the bottom of a AWD/4WD access road only. If you have an AWD/4WD vehicle, please watch this handy video on how to safely drive the road down to the properties.

If you don't have AWD/4WD, not to worry, there are a few other options for getting you and your things down to the properties:
  • You can book our Cleator Road Shuttle Service at least a week in advance. It costs 40.00 for a round trip, but worth it if you're bringing lots of luggage or have mobility issues and walking the road is not an option. Ask Jan about the specifics of this service.
  • If you're able-bodied and don't have too much luggage, parking is available up top on Eaglecliff Road by the mailboxes, and walking scenic Cleator Road is an option many choose. It's about 5 minutes down and 8 minutes back up, and is a great opportunity to get some exercise in before you hunker down to a Lazy Bowen holiday on the waterfront deck or in front of the fire.
AWD or 4WD only on Cleator Road.

Winter Road Conditions

Snow is no guarantee on Bowen, but it can happen. As a rural community, our main roads get plowed during a winter snow fall, but side roads get attended to last, and there is no promise that any one road will be plowed, salted, or sanded at any time. We recommend guests be prepared for all road conditions in the winter whether a new snow fall, icy, or plowed and sanded. Please use caution and keep in mind that there is only one tow truck on Bowen... if you get stuck, getting help may take a while.

You can check out road conditions here: and on Facebook here:

Property driveways may have snow, so you may need to be prepared to park away from the property's designated parking spot and walk in a little ways.

Eaglecliff Road, post-plow.

Going Car-less on Bowen

If you don't have a car or want to leave yours at home, there are options for getting around, but be forewarned -- they require you to be fit or very patient.


Bowen is easy to get to via the 250 or 257 bus from Vancouver. While on Bowen, various areas can be accessed by the Bowen Island Community Shuttle, part of TransLink. The schedules can be found at the Municipality website here.

However, do check the schedule, as the buses only service commuter hours on weekdays and are limited throughout the day on weekends and holidays, generally servicing each of the two routes once every two hours. So don't expect regular service as in a city, and do look at the schedule before planning your day out.

The Compass Card fare or transfer you received from the Vancouver buses on your way to Horseshoe Bay will work on Bowen with no extra charge if you board the bus soon after getting off the ferry.

The C11 Eaglecliff bus takes you to the
Lazy Bowen Hideaway & Lazy B Waterfront Suite.

If you are staying on the east side of Bowen Island (this would include the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and the Lazy B Waterfront Suite) you will be pleased to know that the C11 bus to Eaglecliff will drop you right at the top of the driveway. To catch the bus from the ferry, walk a short distance to the red library building where you will see the bus stop on Cardena Road. Tell your bus driver that you would like to be dropped off at Cleator Road, they will know where that is. The bus ride only takes about 15 minutes. When returning to Snug Cove, be out on the road 10 minutes before it's expected time so you don't miss it, and just wave down the bus anywhere along the route and hop on. You can pay with exact change or scan your Compass Card. More info about fares here.

Unfortunately the bus does not service the Mt. Gardner area or Taylor Road, so if you are staying at the Eastman Waterfront Cottage, the Eastman Waterfront Retreat, or the Evergreen Cottage, you will have to find other transport there. There are a few options...

Bowen Taxi

The Bowen Taxi is an option, but do call ahead of your trip to see about availability (there is only one taxi car as of writing), and check their operating schedule online.


For an old-school authentic taste of the Bowen Island lifestyle, hitch a ride with a local to wherever you're going. Either wait on the road or at any of our designated "LIFT" spots, smile, and stick out your thumb, and you should get a ride in no time.

Rather than try to hitch a ride on Bowen Island Trunk Road in Snug Cove, however, walk to the start of one of the four "artery" roads - Miller Road, Dorman road, Mount Gardner Road (by the school), or Bowen Island Trunk Road (past the school). You will be more likely to get picked up as drivers will know which way you're heading.


While the Evergreen Cottage is relatively close to the ferry (about a 20 minute walk from Snug Cove), the other properties are about 3km or an hour or more from Snug Cove to walk. Bowen is hilly and there are no sidewalks outside of Snug Cove, so walkers should be fit, prepared for all weather, and mindful of traffic.

If you're walking after dark, do make sure you are visible to traffic (reflective gear is best) and have a flashlight, as most roadways on Bowen Island don't have sidewalks and walking becomes dangerous after dark. In snowy conditions, we recommend bringing removable shoe-grips so you don't fall on icy paths.


If you are very fit, bicycling may be an option for you, but be forewarned - Bowen is very hilly and roads are narrow. You'll want to be very aware of cars around you and wear high-visibility gear. Also know that deer and their young can pop out from the brush onto the road at any time as well. If you are a regular cyclist and have a great set of lungs and the muscle power to tackle Bowen hills, it can be a nice way to travel.

Photo by Neil Spinney

Scooter Rentals

You can rent scooters in the high season for a few hours to a few days from Zoom Zoom Bowen scooter rentals. Rentals are weather dependent, and booking ahead is prudent, so give them a call or email before you head over to Bowen. This can be a fun way to get around, but keep in mind all we have mentioned above, that roads are narrow and hilly, so drive with caution, and please keep to all posted speed limits.

Photo from

Many Happy Returns! Evergreen Cottage's Most Frequent Guest

Posted: Wed Jan 03 20:48:00 UTC 2018

We've interviewed a few returning guests now, folks who have enjoyed one, some, or all of the Bowen Island Accommodations properties on numerous occasions. But Kristin might be a record-breaker for how many times she and her family have stayed at the Evergreen Cottage. They come in all seasons, on weekends and holidays and for all occasions, so we were grateful when Kristin was willing to share with us what makes Bowen Island special for her.


BIA: Where is home for you, and why do you choose to vacation on Bowen Island?

Kristin: We live in Kitsilano (Vancouver). Bowen offers just about everything we want in a vacation spotand it's so close. We spend as many weekends there as we can possibly fit in!

BIA: What is your favourite thing to do while here?

Kristin: There are so many things that we could characterize as our "favourite." We love hiking, wandering the town, eating in the fantastic restaurants... but if we had to choose, I think we'd say that our favorite thing to do is sit on the deck watching the ferries go by, listening to the sounds of the forest and chatting over a glass of wine.

BIA: You've stayed many times at Maureen Armstrong's Evergreen Cottage. In fact it's been 7 times this past year alone, a real compliment to Maureen and Bowen Island Accommodations, so thank you for that! With many other vacation rental offerings on Bowen Island, what makes you choose this property each time?

Kristin: Again, many things! Maureen is a wonderful hostess. She has really thought of everything. And the Cottage itself is in a perfect locationwalking distance to town, yet a world away. Everything is accessible, yet it couldn't be more peaceful. The property includes a large area of forest with walking trails that we use multiple times a day. Perhaps most important for us is the fact that dogs are very welcome at Evergreen. Maureen is an animal lover and knows that some of us won't leave home without ours! 

BIA: Now being very familiar with Bowen Island, do you have a vacation routine you like to settle into, and if so, what do you do, or do you enjoy exploring new things on Bowen each time?

Kristin: We do have a routine now. We can pack ourselves up, hop on the ferry and make ourselves at home in no time. Once there, we unpack and unwind. That's really the priority. That said, when a new business comes to town we love to check it out. This past summer we also invited friends to join us.  It was great to be able to introduce people to Bowen.

BIA: What's your favourite place to eat on Bowen, or do you cook at your residence?

Kristin: We like to cook at home.  The kitchen at Evergreen has everything anyone could need to make a delicious meal, and the view while we're doing it is incredible! That said, there are lots of great restaurants in town. I don't think you can go wrong. We do have a routine of getting in line for the ferry on Monday mornings and then going to order take out from the Snug Café. You cannot beat the veggie wrap!

BIA: Do you have any other favourite Bowen businesses you'd like other visitors to know about?

Kristin: While we tend to bring everything we need for our time on the island, it is always good to know that if we have forgotten something we're just about guaranteed to be able to find it on Bowen. Whether it's groceries (including the delicious organic offerings at the Ruddy Potato), pharmacy items, things for our dogs... you can find them on Bowen.

BIA: Any recommendations for folks new to vacationing on Bowen Island (preparations, things to do, places to go, what to bring)?

Kristin: From a practical perspective, know that the ferry crossing is easy. Reservations aren't taken, but they're not needed. If you're there half an hour before the next sailing, you'll be on. I do recommend getting the Experience Card. There is information about it on the BC Ferries website. It saves you an awful lot of money on sailings. Beyond that, just prepare to slow down. The pace and atmosphere is much different from the city, in a very good way. If you do that, you'll get the most out of the time you have there.

BIA: You've been here in all seasons, what would you tell others thinking about booking a vacation to Bowen Island in the off-season?

Kristin: We love Bowen at all times of the year. We just spent Thanksgiving there and have spent the last two Christmases there too. Again, you can't go wrong. It's certainly different in winternot as much time spent on the deck of course! But we trade the "deck time" for "by the wood-burning fireplace time."  It's all good.


So glad to hear about what you love on Bowen Island, Kristin, I'm sure others will enjoy your recommendations and tips too! 

Property Upgrades To Greet You in 2018

Posted: Fri Dec 15 19:47:00 UTC 2017

The Lazy Bowen Hideaway entry garden ~ work in progress ~ plants soon. 
We've been busy this winter here at Bowen Island Accommodations, getting organized to make our properties even better for 2018. Here are a few of the changes and upgrades in effect and on their way.


Lazy Bowen Hideaway

We've replaced the entry stairs from the car park. Thanks to Kevan Bernards of Bernard's Homecraft for his beautiful work, allowing for a safer entry for guests.

The stairs are phase one in a revamp of the entryway garden. Locals Su Rickett will complete the landscaping, Jaime Weismiller will be doing the rock work, and Bruce Culver of Seascape will complete the garden watering system. In our continued efforts to conserve water, the watering system Bruce put in is operated by wifi and connected to the weather centre, which means that when it rains it turns the water off, and if it is exceptionally hot it will add a few minutes of watering time.

Look out for their excellent work next spring!

Bernards Homecraft -
Su Rickett, Garden Consultant - 604 828 3675
Jaime Weismiller
Bruce Culver, Seascape - 604 329 3045

Eastman Waterfront Retreat

The old dock walkway has been replaced, thanks to Norbert Puppe, our reliable all-around handyman. Guests will soon be able to enjoy a 10x10 foot dock as well, a safe and private spot to revel in nature and picnic on. Enjoy views of Hutt Island and the Sunshine Coast, and perhaps spot seals, waterfowl, and maybe even whales from near water level. Stairs go down to a small beach for swimming.

New dock walkway at Eastman Waterfront Retreat.

Eastman Waterfront Cottage

Starting in February 2018, guests of the Eastman Waterfront Cottage will be able to enjoy a cozy fire by a brand new wood stove during their October - April stays. As with all other Bowen Island Accommodations properties, we will provide 4 logs per night for your evening fire. You'll feel like you're miles away when you've got your fire roaring in this sweet cabin in the woods.

And another thing, for guests staying seven nights or longer, access will also become available to a new laundry shed next door, for all your laundry needs.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions about any of these or other amenities available during your stay. We look forward to sharing these great upgrades with our 2018 guests!

Keeping it Clean at Bowen Island Accommodations: Simple Cleaning Solutions

Posted: Fri Dec 01 21:18:00 UTC 2017

We pride ourselves on our cleaners' abilities to make sure only sparkling homes greet you on arrival at your Bowen island Accommodations vacation rental. Did you know we also pride ourselves on keeping our cleaning products clean?

Island water ecology and septic systems are particularly fragile, so we try to keep our products simple as well as effective, home-made and odour-free. Here are some of our recipes for green cleaning products, and home-cleaning tips.

Photo by Nick Youngsen

All Purpose Cleaner & Glass Cleaner
(Do not use on stainless steel appliances)

Mix all in a spray bottle:
  • 2 cup of filtered water
  • ½ cup of vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon of dish soap
For a deeper clean say in the tub, toilet or sink apply some baking soda and spray with the above cleaner. It will foam and loosen any stuck on dirt.

All Purpose Cleaner for Stainless Steel, Marble, PaperStone Counters, and Floors

Mix in a spray bottle:
  • water
  • a few drops of dish soap

Baking Soda for (almost) everything
Almost any surface with a textured dirty feel, like soap scum, can be tackled with baking soda, a textured sponge, and some water. Rinse off the baking soda afterwards. (Just don't use it on stone, paperstone, or stainless steel).

Pink Solution
Pink Solution is one product we rely on regularly to remove stains on almost any surface. Watch their (oddly addictive) demonstration videos, to see all that this environmentally friendly product can do.

What do we love about it? It's great for all stains, can be used on white or coloured linens, carpets, upholstery, shower grout, baked on food, you name it. And the longer you leave it on, the harder it works. It's really performed some miracles in our vacation rental homes.

Laundry & Dishes
Our guests sometimes ask us about specific products. We use Ecos in most properties for laundry, and in others we are transitioning over. Same with dish soap, we are moving over to using Kirkland Environmentally Responsible Dish Soap at all properties.

Do you have a product recipe or recommendation for us, one you love to use and that's easy on the environment? Let us know!

5 (actually 8) Lazy Rainy Day To Do's

Posted: Tue Nov 14 20:04:00 UTC 2017

Summer is long gone, but good times on Bowen are still here!

Here in the Eagle Cliff neighbourhood, home of the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and the Lazy B Waterfront Suite, our community has long ago put away our summertime dock into safe harbour. Summer is a distant memory, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy all Bowen Island has to offer in the cooler months. 

To learn more about our Vacation rentals visit our web site

With the end of the summer season comes the exciting Storm Season. The Hideaway and Suite are poised on the perfect viewing cliff  to watch the storms come straight at the property. Whether the rain tapping a tune on the roof or the wind-driven waves crashing on the beach below the rhythmic harmony will lull you into another world of ahhhh-ness. (Same as: be lazy, do nothing, relaxation only, please).

What to do when it is pouring outside? 
Lucky for you we have 8 Rainy Day ideas……………………….

October - April sink into the sofa and relax in front of the fire at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway

1) Light a fire. Our wood-burning fireplaces in the Lazy Bowen Hideaway, Eastman Waterfront Retreat, and Evergreen Cottage, and the wood stove in the Waterfront Suite make for an extra dose of cozy during your stay. It's not needed to heat the rooms (we have modern conveniences such as baseboard heaters) but it sure adds that "away from it all - put your feet up" ambiance. We allow fires October through April and supply enough wood for your evening fire.

2) Watch a movie or 20 on our flat screen TVs. Both the Hideaway and the Waterfront Suite are supplied with an abundance of popular DVDs and classic VHS movies. You can also borrow DVDs at the Bowen Island Public Library, or pick up some interesting finds at the Knick Knack Nook. The Hideaway 55" smart TV offers Netflix. Your stay is the perfect time to binge-watch without having the early work wake up call. 

One of our many games available for your rainy day fun

3) Family board games and puzzles abound--------sit around the table and quietly fit this piece to that piece, corners and straight edges first……….the perfect "think about nothing" activity. Or if you fancy yourself a great speller start up a game of Scrabble. We also have Yahtzee, cribbage, cards, and many other games at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway, Lazy B Waterfront Suite, Evergreen Cottage, and Eastman Waterfront Cottage……. I just can't remember them all. I don't know about you but one of my best memories is the family playing a game of Hearts around the dining room table on a stormy rainy night…………Maybe you can have that memory too?

Head to the Bowen Island Library to check out a book or buy a used book.

4) Curl up with a book and snuggle under a cozy throw. Of course, you can bring along your favourite novel but no worries if you get in a hurry packing up to leave the city and you forget yours. (I would be in a hurry to get to Bowen Island too.) The Lazy Bowen Hideaway & Waterfront Suite have collections of all kinds of books from romance novels to Reader's Digest. And if that isn't enough, you can pick up a book at the Bowen Island Library from their well-curated collection. They have used books for sale as well and you will be kindly supporting the Friends of the Library who fund-raise and support our little library throughout the year. 

10 x 4 foot granite counter and convection oven great for prepping and baking

5) A good time to get your Christmas baking done. The all-new kitchen in the Lazy Bowen Hideaway is perfect for baking in our new convection ovens. The NEW Whirlpool convection oven plus the Micro Convection means you can fill the Hideaway with the sweet scents of cookies and cakes. While you are baking up a "storm" you can gaze out the south facing windows watching the ferries and ships sail by………anticipating the next lightning strike. The large 10 x 4 foot granite island allows for a huge mess…..stuff everywhere……..and then………BOOM……….clean up is easy (we have a new dishwasher). Oh and I forgot to mention……..the kitchen has many levels of lighting from bright task to ambient mood lighting…… will love it!!    
Newly renovated kitchen with dishwasher, filtered water, 2 convection ovens

6) MAXIMIZE YOUR RELAXATION WITH AN IN-SUITE MASSAGE. Can you imagine a 60 or 90 minute in-suite massage by a certified Registered Massage Therapist? No driving required. All you have to do is slowly roll off the table and then sit and immerse yourself in the complete satisfaction that you have just been healed. This little dynamo, Jenni Griffiths is so tuned into your needs that 60 minutes just won't be long enough…………90 minutes is heaven.  Let her know if you want a deep massage or a relaxation massage………guaranteed she will make you and your body happy. Schedule with Jenni Griffiths of Cedar Room Massage Therapy.

We also recommend Karolina at Spirica Healing (she does mobile massage as well as at her studio), and Solarium Massage Therapy & Rehabilitation.

Lazy B Waterfront Suite NEW covered seaside deck

7)  Defy the Rain and sit outside on our NEW waterfront deck............You are covered.  We love (and our guests love) our NEW Lazy B Waterfront Suite covered seaside deck with comfortable furnishings. Wrap up in a throw, grab a cup of hot Joe and immerse yourself in the fresh air, crashing waves, and nature all around. Bet you can't do this in the city!!!

Lazy B Waterfront Suite queen bed with gel topper and a GREAT sea view

8) BONUS SUGGESTION …….. Oh heck...........just Stay in bed and curl up in the NEW Stearns and Foster mattress from Hudson Bay*  If you can stay awake surf the net (we have FREE Wi-Fi), watch TV and just do nothing………. It is appropriately called the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and the Lazy B Waterfront Suite for a reason………….we give you permission to enjoy the peaceful, gentle patter of rain and the freshly cleansed air.  *(lazy bowen hideaway seaside bedroom only.) 

Lazy Bowen Hideaway master bedroom with new
Stearns and Foster mattress and sea view

Learn more about the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and the Lazy B Waterfront Suite 

Tips for Enjoying Snowy Bowen Island

Posted: Thu Nov 09 00:24:00 UTC 2017

❄️ Tips for Enjoying Snowy Bowen Island ❄️

Snow has already been gently falling here on our otherwise-green island. If you've booked a stay with us in snow season, there's no need to panic — in fact, a blanket of white will be a welcome prompt to relax once you get here, all you need is a little preparation. 

First off, why we love a snowy Bowen Island:

  • Winter wonderland walks
  • An excuse to snuggle inside by the fire
  • Peace & quiet only a snowscape can create
  • Explore the great indoors - cook, craft, read, chat, nap...

But to really enjoy it, be prepared to make the best of this rare weather event, and use these tips to guide you through a snowy holiday away from it all.


Check the Weather

Knowing when the snow will come can help you plan ahead.
Will the snow hit while you're here? If possible, park closer to a main road, where plows will come. (However, parking right on the main road makes it hard for plows to operate).
Will it snow the night before you arrive? Then you may find not all roads are plowed yet, so after disembarking the ferry, grab a latte in Snug Cove while the roads are cleared to your vacation rental. See below for road report links.


Car Prep and Roads

Pack a shovel & gravel kitty litter, in case you find yourself in a jam. While snow tires are not required by law on Bowen, if you have them, use them. We don't recommend driving on any unplowed roads without snow tires, and even then, please use caution. 

If you're coming from afar, please remember that certain BC highways do require you to have winter tires from October 1 to March 31. Check the winter tire regulations in BC to see if your route requires them.

Always check Bowen Island road reports before planning your transportation to your rental. There are two places to check:

How the Municipality Plows

The Municipality clears snow and ice from public roads according to a road maintenance priority plan. The crews are on call 24 hours a day and monitor weather conditions to be ready to respond in snowy and icy conditions. Crews salt and plow the roads in the following order of priority: 
  1. Main roads and bus routes (Taylor Rd, Miller Rd, Eaglecliff Rd, and Mt. Gardner Rd. all main roads heading to our properties) 
  2. Secondary roads, once the snowfall has stopped. (from the intersection of Mt. Gardner and Wood Rd toward the Eastman properties) 
  3. Third-priority roads after the snowfall has stopped and all other main and secondary roads are passable.
In the event of continual snowfall, it will take longer for plows to reach third-priority roads because main and secondary roads require additional attention. 

Private roads and driveways are not cleared.

Make room for plows. Vehicles parked on narrow roadsides make it difficult or impossible for plows to get through. 

If you do find yourself in need of assistance, our local tow truck operator (for BCAA) can be reached at (604) 947-4357. Leigh Auto (604-947-2222) is our trusty car repair folks, in case you should need further help with your vehicle.



Transportation Options

If you decide last-minute to leave your car at home or in Horseshoe Bay, not to worry, you have other transportation options: Transit, hitchhiking, walking, and Bowen Taxi (see our Transportation Page for more information on these options).


Trip Insurance

Because we have strict cancellation policies we always recommend trip insurance, which can help you deal with the unexpected (such as snowy roads), whether it's weather-related, medical or something else altogether. (See specific policies for details). 

While we don't endorse any specific insurance provider, here are a few sites our guests have used in the past, to get you started finding a policy that works for you.
CSA Travel Protection:
Travel Guard:



Stock Up

If it looks like it will snow while you are here, remember to stock up on all your favourite food items and pastimes, as it may take the better part of a day for snow plows to get to your area (and for you to get to restaurants and out to explore).


Power Outages

Power outages may happen and are usually fixed within a day, but you may want to prepare for this possibility ahead of time. While we encourage lazy snowflake-watching, why not bring a charged laptop with downloaded films, books, and board games? (We supply DVDs, board games, and books at the Lazy Bowen Waterfront Hideaway & Lazy B Waterfront Suite.)

All our properties have flashlights, candles, and a bottle of water supplied for emergencies, but it never hurts to bring more of your own.

And even if your side of the island is out of power, that doesn't necessarily mean the whole island has gone dark — often Snug Cove and all the great restaurants and stores there have power, even when the remoter areas don't. You can check BC Hydro's power outage statuses for Bowen Island at:


If we can assist you to prepare for your winter holiday, please don't hesitate to contact us. We love it here in winter ...and are certain you will too. Book at ❄️❄️❄️