A look back: the August Undercurrents of ‘79, ‘94, ‘09

The following are unedited snippets from past Undercurrents compiled by the archival summer student Cicely Ashley. To read the complete articles or to follow up on information please contact the Bowen Museum & Archives at bihistorians@telus.netor 604.947.2655.


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40 years ago – August 1979

Observations – C. Gull

The beach crowds have deep gorgeous tans which should last them well into winter. Swimmers have enjoyed the warmer than usual water, boaters have been able to make good use of their vessels, and fishing enthusiasts have made limit catches day after day. All of the social events have been well attended – a gratifying success for those who worked so hard. 

The only “fly in the ointment” has been the increasing hoards of venomous wasps which uninvited and unwanted appear at all social functions. At one point it was suggested that buttons, imprinted with the words, “I Was Stung By a Wasp,” be presented to those unlucky people. It may be more prudent and less costly to give out buttons which say: “I Wasn’t Stung By a Wasp.” Animals have had their paws and mouths swollen by the stinging insects, humans have fared much worse. Daily reports of the latest assaults include stings in the most unlikely places, some recipients experiencing little discomfort after the initial startling sting while others suffer from itching and excessive swelling. 

Sundecks, verandahs and patios come into use in the evenings when, thankfully, the wasps retire for the night.

25 years ago – August 1994

Anniversary of Old Store’s preservation to be celebrated – Lois Meyers-Carter

August 20 is the date for the Ten Year Party being organized by travel agent and heritage aficionado David Smith, on behalf on the Bowen Island Park and Store Use Society (BIPASUS). The party celebrates the community-based effort to preserve the old Union Steamship Store which was opened in its renovated form in 1964. The party also acknowledges the work which resulted in the location of a regional park on Bowen Island. 

Newer Islanders have no way of knowing that the old store was once derelict and close to being lost. 

As David Smith sat in Sly’s Café looking across the street to the old store, his feeling of “We don’t want to lose the old store” grew. He printed a notice in The Undercurrent and called a meeting at Collins Hall.

Six years of work came to fruition one joyous day in June of 1984 when the old store was officially dedicated. 

Heritage is alive and well on Bowen Island because there are people here who understand the necessity of preserving community history. 

10 years ago – August 2009

Local festival of food and farmers – Marcus Hondro 

The third annual Bowfeast, not to be confused with Bowfest, is all set to go during the week of Aug. 10-16 with a goal to help enable Islanders to eat as much food created on Bowen as possible. 

The event is an offshoot of another Island group, One Day Bowen, and what each has in common is a desire to contribute to a healthier, more sustainable community and planet; the groups also have organizer and journalist, Elle Glave, in common.

Also at Bowfeast, Islanders Ellie Mackay and Stuart Cole will have a tent at the Farmer’s Market showing, among other things, how to safely look at bees, how to milk goats and how to plant potatoes.

“During Bowfeast we would just love it if everyone on Bowen had a feast at their house using as much Bowen––and regional––ingredients as possible,” Glave said. “That’s really the heart of it.”


Mapping Howe Sound habitat – Marcus Hondro 

In the name of helping at-risk species, and learning more about the Howe Sound habitat, the Islands Trust fund is seeking Bowen landowners to allow scientists to poke around their property.

It is part of a Terrestrial Ecosystems mapping project Islands Trust started in Howe Sound earlier this year.

Ecologists working for the trust are looking for Islanders to allow them to come onto their properties to confirm information gathered in aerial photos. 

The visits to owners land will be “ten to thirty minutes” in duration and done at times convenient to the people living in the homes. 

The typically two-person crew will “identify natural vegetation, and in some cases, examine soil samples.”

© Copyright Bowen Island Undercurrent


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