The No. 1 Picnic Grounds
Directly opposite the Seaside Cottages was Picnic Ground #1.
The large playing field on this site made it the preferred spot for games and races that were part of every picnic. Sack races, ladies egg and spoon races, tug-of-war and other games were held on the large flat area enclosed by a low, white fence. As on other grounds, there were long, covered picnic tables, outdoor stoves and a water tap.
The Lower Dance Hall
An early dance hall, built by Captain Cates, stood at the east end of Picnic Grounds #1.
Later, after the Union Steamship Company built the octagonal dance pavilion, the lower dance hall became a well-used community facility. Local young people enjoyed playing badminton during the winter. Saturday nights there might be square dancing, card games or perhaps a concert or theatre presentation. In later years, the summer residents gathered to watch films and eat popcorn.
The Band Shell
Also located on Picnic Ground #1 was the band shell.
On summer Sundays, hundreds of people gathered on the grass in front of the band shell. George Brydon and his group, and later Frank Scott’s Vaudeville Troupe, performed regularly with fantastic acts by dancers, singers, jugglers and piano players. It was Bowen Island’s version of the old Ed Sullivan Show. Apart from the professional entertainers, anybody who wanted to get up to sing or dance was welcome. Today Bowen continues to enjoy rich cultural life – at various times outdoor music happens in the Bowfest Field, on the stage beside the Snug Cafe and the lawn of Union Steamships.
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