3. Seaside Cottages and Picnic Grounds

3. Seaside Cottages and Picnic Grounds

From the cenotaph (2), proceed north along Cardena Street, until you come to the white cottages on your left (3), just past the entrance to Crippen Park. Based on 1937 map.

A white building with traditional white slat siding and slanted roof.

The Seaside Cottage

These two white cottages are known as the Seaside Cottages.

The larger cottage was built in the early 1900s by the Tulk family, possibly by Vancouver architect Samuel Maclure. Tommy and Mary White lived in the smaller cottage. The Whites owned and skippered the ‘Sannies’, small launches that taxied people and small cargo to Bowen year round. Mary was described as was “the only lady on the Howe Sound run”. After retiring, the Whites refurbished one of the Sannies for their own use and traveled the coast.

The Children’s Playground

Look to your left. Across the gravel path from the White’s cottage, was Picnic Ground #2

The only children’s playground was located at the edge of No.2 Picnic Grounds. There were swings, a teeter-totter and a roundabout, long ago reclaimed by the forest. This was also a favourite spot for baseball. There is a long-standing tradition of great sport and fierce pride that attends playing of this game on Bowen. It endures to this day.

Three women sit on the steps of the first aid cabin

The First Aid Station

Kitty corner from the Seaside Cottages was the first aid station.

In the early days, Major Kane, the resident first aid attendant, used to go down to the wharf with a megaphone to welcome the boat loads of visitors arriving in Snug Cove. During the 1940’s and 50’s, when there were huge crowds of picnickers, as many as four volunteers from St. John Ambulance assisted the resident first aid attendant. Today the ambulance has a home on Miller Road. As in the past, it provides vital emergency paramedic care. The building was dubbed ‘Bowen General Hospital’.

The Women’s Rest Cabin (1925)

Nearby the first aid station was the mothers’ rest cabin.

This cabin was for the exclusive use of mothers with small children and babies. A sign on the building read: “For use of Mothers with babies in arms only.” Comfortable chairs, changing table and a source of water to freshen up and rest out of the weather. Major Kane was also responsible for this cabin as well.

A group of women in old fahsioned white dresses gamely hold the end of a thick tug of war rope.

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.

A group of people on the picnic grounds - actually used more as a playing field, with the dancehall in the background and Sandy Beach behind it.

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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2017-11-09T11:58:06+00:00