The trail begins at the site of the old Steamer Wharf (1) which was in the area that is now occupied by Dallas Marina, the Government Wharf, BC Ferry dock and Union Steamships Marina. Begin the trail by walking onto the wooden Government Wharf, just to the north of the ferry dock. Based on 1937 map.
Arriving on Bowen
During the Union Steamship glory days as many as 5,000 people were ferried to Bowen Island on the summer weekend. The all-time high of 101,000 visitors was reached in 1946 when Vancouver’s population was still only 365,000.
The Lady Alexander, the pride of the Union Steamship fleet, used to deliver huge crowds of picnic excursions and Moonlight Cruises. She could accommodate up to 1400 people and boasted a formal dining room, comfortable lounges, and a fine maple dance floor. Daytime visitors arrived for concerts in the band shell, refreshments in the tearoom and enormous company picnics at the 6 large picnic grounds. Weekend excitement began with the arrival of the “daddy boats” which were greeted at the dock by wives and children who spent the week vacationing on Bowen.
Another very important presence at the dock were the Sannies, a small fleet of gasoline powered launches that taxied people and small cargo to Bowen year round. The word “Sannie” comes from the name of an Australian race horse. From 1921 to 1954, the Sannie Transportation Company provided an essential service to island residents. Amazingly, the 25 cent fare remained the same for thirty years.
Looking north, the remains of a stone retaining wall can be seen, on the left shore at the water’s edge. A pathway led up from the wharf, across a sloping lawn, to the tearoom and dance pavilion. The tearoom stood roughly where the brown house stands now.