5. The Lagoon

5. The Lagoon

The Lagoon (5) is an estuary where salmon spawn and ducks nest – and people used to swim. Several bridges preceded the cement causeway we see today. To the east were Sandy Beach and the lower dance hall, picnic grounds and cottages in what is now Crippen Park. Based on 1937 map.

A winding whitewater stream and above it a bridge with three distinctive humps.

Bridal Veil Falls – Lagoon Trail

Proceed to the beginning of the causeway and look carefully by the weeping willow tree and you might see the beginning of the old trail.

The Lagoon Trail was a scenic walk to Bridal Veil Falls. At one time, rustic cedar rails lined the walkway. It was built in a Japanese garden style by skilled workers employed by Captain Cates.

Images: Van. Arch. – Bridal Veil Walk

The Japanese Bridge

Look to the back of the Lagoon to Killarney Creek that feeds into the Lagoon. Upstream above the falls was the site of the Humpty Bridge.

Koga, the gardener employed by Captain Cates, and his crew built the graceful Japanese style bridge that spanned Killarney Creek at the top of the falls. Known locally as the Humpty Bridge, it connected with the Bridle Path, rustic, cedar rail-lined walkway that ran along-side the creek to the outlet of Deep Bay.

Further down the creek, the Lagoon Bridge crossed over to the No. 3 Picnic Grounds. Look for the footings of past bridges above and below the falls.

The Old Powerhouse

On the right hand side of the lower creek the concrete footings of the old powerhouse can be seen. Killarney Creek was dammed above picturesque Bridal Veil Falls in Captain Cates’ time to supply water for a hydroelectric generator. Its supply, however, was limited. During the Union Steamships era, each evening an employee turned a wheel that allowed water to flow into the generator. For a few hours, cottagers had a light in the living room and could listen to evening Causeway provided pleasant evening strolling. At 11:00 p.m. the process was reversed and the power was turned off for the night.

The Causeway

The causeway we see today was built by the Union Steamship Company in 1925 to link the hotel grounds with Snug Cove. It replaced an earlier bridge that was destroyed by a storm in 1924.The first settlers crossed by boat or a huge log which spanned the water.

Before the concrete causeway was built, camping along the foreshore of what became the lagoon was very popular.

Notice the fishway on the ocean side. It was added to the causeway in 1924 and assists salmon entering or returning to the sea.
Look across towards the sandy beach.

Images: Folder #1 – 5384
Folder #2 – 977
Van. Arch. – The Bridge before the Causeway was built.
Bowen Heritage – #21 wooden bridge
– #6 causeway and annual row boat race.

An old steamship wtih tall smokestack belching smoke pulling up to a wooden pier in Mannion Bay circa 1899

The Brickyards

In the 1890’s, Joseph Mannion operated a brickyard on this site which supplied bricks for a growing Vancouver. His bricks were described as “an excellent article” in the Vancouver Daily News, November 11, 1890. At first, horses were used to run the machinery and later a steam plant was installed.

Following the closure of the brick clay operation, the site was converted to what became playing field #1 and then site of the popular bandshell.

Images: Folder #1 – 4340
Bowen Heritage – #52 SS Rothway loading (1899)

Sandy Beach

Can you see a wee bit of old Scotland on the distant shore? In the early 1920’s, golden sand from the east coast of Scotland arrived as ballast on the Union Steamship Company’s new ships. The Lady Alexander and Catala. It was deposited along the shore of Deep Bay to create Sandy Beach. This was easily the most popular beach in the Cove area. It was enclosed by buoyant logs and had a movable float with middle and high level diving and a water slide. Long before regattas in the Okanagan, people came to Bowen Island for swimming events and races.

Images: Folder #1 – 63
Folder #2 – 362
Folder #3 – 271
Van. Arch. Diving Tower (1924)
Bowen Island Regatta