British newspaper obviously didn't get the 'Tell them it's awful here' memo

The Guardian gushes about 20-minute ferry ride to Bowen Island

The Amazon, Sicily, Madeira — and Bowen Island?

Leave it to a British newspaper to remind us that one of the most scenic day trips is in our back yard.

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The Guardian recently asked its readers to share their favourite trips by boat. Right up there with a three-day ferry ride along the Amazon from Yurimaguas to Iquitos is the 20-minute BC Ferries trip from Horseshoe Bay to Snug Cove.

“It allows enough time to climb to the boat’s open-air top deck and take in three nautical miles of breathtaking west coast scenery. Sparkling ocean, forested fjords and whales – if you’re lucky – are your surroundings. Watch as locals brace themselves for the ferry’s final moments upon entering Bowen Island’s aptly named Snug Cove, when the horn blasts and passengers are momentarily jolted forwarded as the ferry nudges into place at the port. Step on to the wooden dock and you’re transported decades back to a friendly, artisanal island where locals leave car doors unlocked,” the reader writes.

Bowen Island marketing
Bowen Island's marketing campaign, launched in 2016, might have sparked debate among islanders but it also contributed to a 79 per cent increase in visitors. - ReThink Canada

Bowen Island, you might remember, was in the headlines two summers ago when it launched its tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign.

“Welcome to Bowen Island — Don’t forget to leave,” was one slogan.

“Tell your friends it’s awful here,” was another.

The campaign was by islander Chris Staples of Rethink Canada. Remember the Molson Canadian beer dispensers in London, England that were only accessible by swiping a Canadian passport? That was Rethink.

“Anyone who lives here has a love-hate relationship with visitors,” Staples told the Bowen Island Undercurrent in 2016. “We love to show off our island, but we don’t want it to be overrun with tourists. We want visitors, but only if they really get what makes Bowen special.”

Although Bowen Islanders were divided — as is their wont — about the slogans, they seem to have worked.

The number of visitors increased 79 per cent last year, Bowen Island Tourism reports.

There are ferry sailings nearly every hour. You can avoid the cost (and complication) of taking your car by parking in Horseshoe Bay and going on as a foot passenger or you can take the 257 express bus from downtown Vancouver.

Don’t worry. Despite some islanders’ wish that the Howe Sound doubled as a moat, you’ll find the island as charming as the Guardian contributor did.



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