- 7:30 PM
Speaker: Jack Little, Professor Emeritus
The phrase “no island is an island,” as historian Carlo Ginzberg applied to England, is particularly apt for Bowen Island. Part of the traditional territory of the Squamish people, Bowen is the Gulf Island nearest Vancouver. In the early twentieth century some of Vancouver’s wealthiest families established summer retreats on the island; and for over half a century each summer weekend hundreds of families boarded steamships in Coal Harbour for day trips to the picnic grounds of Snug Cove. In the 1950s a car ferry introduced commuters to Bowen, making city ties tighter than ever, but in 1969 a developer’s plan to convert the Snug Cove area into a densely settled suburb opened a protracted debate that revealed conflicting visions of the island’s future. The tension between preserving Bowen Island as a retreat from the city and giving in to metropolitan development pressures persists to the present day.
Jack Little is a Professor Emeritus in the History Department at Simon Fraser University. His most recent book is Fashioning the Canadian Landscape: Essays on Travel Writing, Tourism, and National Identity in the Pre-Automobile Era.