Burns Supper, the torch relay and rewarding a rescue: looking back at February ‘80, ‘95 and ‘10

It is always interesting to look back to see how things have changed – or not! The Bowen Island Archives have the complete run of the Undercurrents from 1975 to present. To read past Undercurrents or follow up on information please contact us at bihistorians@telus.net or 604.947.2655

40 years ago – Feb. 1980 

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 “Lady Alexandra victim of rough seas

The Lady Alexandra, B.C.’s favourite booze and cruise steamer which carried sixteen million passengers on runs from Vancouver Harbour to Bowen Island over twenty-eight years, has been sunk by fierce winds storms pummeling the California shore.

California authorities said Thursday she probably would be broken up and sold for scrap, or towed to sea and used as a fishing platform. 

Taken off the run in 1953, the Lady Alex, owned by the Union Steamship Company, became a floating restaurant and a Vancouver landmark six years later when she anchored in Coal Harbour at the foot of Cardero. She was towed to Redondo Beach, California, in 1972 where the steamer-turned-restaurant became a disco – Dirty Sally’s. The disco also had a gaming room for backgammon.

The steamer was scuttled as huge storm waves reached the breakwater which protected her. She was scuttled in an attempt to allow the sea itself to protect the vessel but instead of sinking upright and on her keel, the forty-five metre vessel landed on rocks that tipped her on her side. 


Brian Biddlecombe was awarded a fine, large, mounted medallion for the rescue of the sailors of a large sailboat a year ago. At a special awards meeting at Bowen Island Legion Hall, the Royal Naval Sailing Association on behalf of the Canadian Marine Rescue Auxiliary, on Remembrance Day, Brian was presented with the medallion.

It was a fine award to a fine sailor who is doing this sort of thing all the time. Congratulations, Brian, skipper of our very special and available ‘Cabrini.’

25 years ago - Feb. 1995

 “Twas a bonnie, bonnie night

By Betty Neill

There was the sound of revelry Friday night from the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 150 on Bowen. The occasion was the 3rd Annual Robbie Burns supper. It was an outstanding success. 

The tables were set with the good china, and heather added to the floral table centres was an appropriate thoughtful touch.

Festivities started with piping in the head table guests, followed by the ceremonial piping in of the haggis borne by Mort Graham dressed in formal highland splendor. He did not trip or drop the haggis.

A look back: February ‘80, ‘95 and ‘10_0
Mort Graham wearing a kilt and tuxedo (and plaid boxer shorts) and Dolores Davis at the 1995 Burns supper. - Bowen Island Museum and Archives

Barry Neill, who we all know loves to talk, gave a lyrical toast “to our oon toon”. I thought he looked quite dashing in his kilt and sporran. He said it was drafty even though he wore two pair of shorts.

And thank heaven the bar didn’t run out of scotch that year.”

10 years ago - Feb. 2010

 “Set your clocks early – Olympic Torch comes through Bowen at 6:10 a.m.”

“After weeks of anticipation, the big day is soon upon Sandra Campden, Murray Atherton and Catherine Patterson, three Bowen Island residents who are about to carry the Olympic Torch.” 

“Work on sculpture begins. Jim Clark of Black Bear Transport unloads the large cedar trunk that will be transformed into a sculpture over the next few months by Shane Tweten and Simon Daniel James.”


See page 11 for more of  A look back, including a classic Ron Woodall cartoon. 

© Copyright Bowen Island Undercurrent


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