A few days ago I had a conversation with Ron Woodall who expressed concern that we are forgetting the Cottages importance as cultural witnesses and messengers from days gone by in our fervor to see the structures preserved.
It is the history they symbolize, the life style, the comfort expectations of our ancestors a hundred years ago are mirrored in them. Tens of thousands came every year from the “ big city” to marvel at the many ways to make and have fun from the picnics and games, the beaches and hikes into the wilderness to urban sports like tennis and lawn bowling. Three generations of many families came for decades and took their mostly happy memories around the globe. In 1988 I was in London on July1st. The evening Canada Day celebrations took place at Wigmore Hall and began with a riveting piano recital by Edmonton’s Angela Cheng. When the bubbly flowed expats and visitors stood in groups invariably talking about travels and home. When I mentioned I came from a small island off BC’s west coast called Bowen some eyes widened and faces lit up “Bowen?”
At the mention of that word near by groups broke up to join. “Bowen, are the hotel, the cottages, the beaches, the picnic grounds still there? The fun we had every summer before, during and after the war”. Lifetimes rolled past in these distant memories sparked by happiness. Yes, the “Happy Isle” had left it’s mark.
Never again have I met such spontaneous outpouring from strangers about a place I have come to call my home and to cherish.
The Davies Orchard Cottages are the last eloquent guides to a less complicated era when enjoyment came more simply.
Let us put our energies to work to save the Cottages and with them a splendid history of Bowen.
On November 8, I will make a presentation to the Regional Committee to argue the merits of transferring the management of Davies Orchard to Bowen Island.
The more petitions are signed in support the stronger will be our argument.
Thanks to the Bowen Building Center they are available there.