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Meet your Bowen Island neighbours: Bob Turner

Our inaugural meet your neighbour column brings a familiar face back to the Undercurrent: Bob Turner. Fun fact: Bob once had a 'Nature Matters' column in the Undercurrent in the '90s. Bowen Nature Club runs the current 'Nature Matters' Undercurrent column.
Bob Turner receives a community spirit award from BICS in June 2020
Bob Turner received a community spirit award for sharing and spreading his endless enthusiasm for Bowen and Howe Sound’s natural world in June 2020.

A Bowen Islander suggested on Facebook a few months back that the Undercurrent should have a “Get to know your neighbour” column (there have been various iterations of this over the decades and editors). After a couple of months’ lag we’re finally launching a weekly (hopefully) Q&A with islanders randomly picked from our subscription list. I’m still tweaking questions so would love suggestions.

While I’m not going for a weekly profile of prominent Bowen Islanders, the random number generator (it spits out a number and I scroll through the Excel sheet) picked someone very familiar to Undercurrent readers. Who better to launch this column than former mayor, current filmmaker and Howe Sound environmental champion, Bob Turner. 


When did you come to Bowen?

Rosemary and I arrived in 1989. 

How did you get here?

There was a misplaced ad in the west side paper in Vancouver. It was an ad placed by Wolfgang Dunzt and it said, and I still know these words by heart, “Jewel in the woods $104,000,  third of an acre, wooded guest cottage.” And we went, “Where the heck is Bowen Island?” And we came over the next day. 

It was a bluebird day. Brilliant sun — this is February — snow on the mountains. We get on the ferry and we just go, “This is unbelievable.” 

We arrived in the Cove. It was in the middle of a freeze. A bunch of pipes had frozen. Shops were closed. There was a dog lying in the middle of the road. It was just so classic small town. 

We went in for a coffee. We got Sanka served to us. We met Wolfgang and he took us and showed us this little place, which was very cool but happened to be an A-frame and we couldn’t quite deal with the sloping walls. But the rest was history. There was no way we weren’t gonna move here.

Where do you live on Bowen?

We now live at the back end of Cates Hill, which is sort of wonderfully quiet yet close to the village.

Fill the ferry lineup gap or don’t fill the gap?

Filling the gap’s not my first instinct. Unless it just looks like there’s way too much space ahead of me and it needs to be filled.

What’s your favourite Bowen fact?

It is not, as Ron Woodall has drawn it, the three bumps of Bowen are not the top of a submerged camel.

When do you think somebody can consider themselves a Bowen Islander?

When they’ve decided this is a place that they’re going to commit themselves to.

What’s your favourite COVID-19 balm or activity?

I’m basically a hermit at heart and so staying quiet works for me.

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