August 2016

Another year, another Bowfest!


First Published on August 31, 2016 Written by Sasha Buchanan

Myself and Bowfest would first of all like to thank Bowen Island for being such an amazing and unique place which provides the platform for our annual community festival; Bowen is the full reason why and how Bowfest has successfully run for the past forty one years, and hopefully will do for the next Forty one.

Bowfest committee is run by a small yet truly remarkable and diverse group of volunteers who work year round. I am lucky to call these people my college and friends, so thank you to Jessie Cotrell, Robyn Fenton, Linda, Henfry, Candace Hannah, and Rob Wynen for everything you have done, and the number of grey hairs you have all spared me with your insights, hard work, wisdom, and dedication.

But of course Bowfest is not run solely by six committee members so, thank you to John Stiver our stage manager and booking agent,  Mike, Andrea and The Children’s Centre for hosting this year’s Beer Garden, Maureen Sawasy for being our Potluck organizer a first of what is sure to be an annual tradition, PAC and the CSA for manning the doors in your continual effort to raise money for a all ages playground, Sarah Haxby and Bowen Agricultural Alliance at the Country Fair, Kate Brew for organizing the Lip Sync, Margaret Miller at the shooting range, Bowen Loggers, Anne and the Bowen Flaggers, Dave and Louse at the Boat Building, and Hillary Butler at the Rotary Run.

It was also a great year for sponsors! Thank you to Artisan Office Services  for all our printing costs, The Undercurrent for your continual support, Bowen Island Sea and land Taxi for our new and improved Slug Race Track, First Credit Union for sponsoring the Main Stage, Bowen Building Centre for sponsoring the Country Fair tent, Party Perfect for the donation of the Dunk Tank, Reforma Architecture for sponsoring the Lip Sync, BIM for waiving all Bowfest park fees, Friendly Cedar Fencing for the beautiful cedar beer garden fencing, USSC for the beautify  picnic tables, Doc Morgan’s for the lone of two very last minute kegs, and Heart Stone Brewery for donating 3 kegs.

Thank you you to all the food, community and craft vendors! Thank you to all the musical talent. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped set-up, tear down, and clean up, parade judges, and everyone who attended Bowfest 2016.

VERY special thank you to David and Shael Wrinch (NEED OTHER NAMES). Bowfest was very close to being a very dark event this year, you absolutely saved the day!

And of course Bowfest’s very own fair god mother: Adam Taylor.

Hope to see every on 26th August for Bowfest 2017!

Many thanks,

Sasha Buchanan

Bowfest 2016 Chairperson.

And very, very special thanks to David and Shael Wrinch and Jack Callister. Bowfest was very close to being a very dark event this year – you absolutely saved the day!

And of course Bowfest’s very own fair god mother: Adam Taylor.


First: Kate’s Hill Chapel

Second: Doc Morgans & USSC

Third: Bowen Building Centre

Honourable mention: BIHORA

Lip Sync:

Thriller Marie and Roxy Pedley, Malia and Savary Van Strein, Jade and Kate Atkinson, and Shelby Jennings

Country Fair

Tallest flower grown on Bowen winner: Julia Tweten’s 12’2” sunflower

Biggest Zucchini by weight

adult David and Aubin van Berckel’s 14.5lb monster zucchini, and youth Kaija and Ryder Flory’s 6.6lb zucchini.

Strangest Looking Vegetable: youth Alissa and Michaela Schaly’s crazy carrots came in first place and Levi Seaberly’s monster banana squash came in a very close second.

Favourite Animal or Farm Animal Award: Aoife Buckley

The Lego Contest: Jack Hammond

The Fiber Arts Finest award went to Susanne Koeplin and the felted necklace made with her friends and some local wool. The heartfelt story that went with the necklace made the contest judges tear up!

Slug Races: all eight lanes were filled with racing slugs for both races! The 12:45 race was won by the slug “Dread Pirate Roberts” and racing crew of the same name. Dread Pirate Roberts crossed the finish line! The 1:15 pm race was won by Henry’s “Scaredy Slug”at the Country Fair Tent!

Wild Food Spotlight 3: Plantain


First Published on August 17, 2016 Written by Emily van Lidth de Jeude

This past May, my daughter had a big fall, goring her knee on a rotten branch. She endured not only a week of emergency room IV for the ensuing infection, but then three months of the wound slowly expelling all the remaining bits of rotten wood. Plantain to the rescue! Yes – seriously! What the salt water soaks didn’t pull out, we got out with plantain poultices. Grab a leaf, chew it up, and place it on the (closed) wound. You can even use one of the flat leaves as a bandage to hold it in place (tied with string).

Not to be confused with plantain bananas, the small green inconspicuous plants of the Plantago family are exceedingly common. Find them along the edges of roads, meadows, lawns, paths, and playgrounds. Most common around here are P. major (broad-leaved plantain) and P. lanceolata (narrow-leaved plantain or ribwort). Maybe when you were a child you learned to pluck a broad-leaved plantain and find the veins sticking out where you tore it off. Maybe you discovered that if you pulled those veins you could make the leaf curl up. Apparently some people have used these tough fibres as thread! When I was a little girl, my mother and I sometimes made the long gruelling climb from our home in Bowen Bay up towards Adams Rd. And along the way we saw ribwort, although we didn’t know it at the time. We called them the Crowned Princes and Princesses of Denmark, because of their flowers’ beautiful crown-like flower-heads. Oh the adventures those crowned princes and princesses have had over the two generations this game has persisted! Plantain is a wonderful entertainment system for kids on otherwise boring walks.


But it’s also a food and a valuable medicine. Modern science is slowly beginning to study and confirm what folk medicine has taught for centuries. In her review, Anne Berit Samuelsen states that “P. major contains biologically active compounds such as polysaccharides, lipids, caffeic acid derivatives, flavonoids, iridoid glycosides and terpenoids. Alkaloids and some organic acids have also been detected. A range of biological activities has been found from plant extracts including wound healing activity, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, weak antibiotic, immuno modulating and antiulcerogenic activity.” (1) In my own life, I often use broad-leaved plantain as a wound or sting poultice. It’s handily available in the wilderness, where stings, nettle burns, and other small injuries often happen, and makes a huge difference to such inflammations when chewed up and applied directly. Ribwort is also valuable, both for the gut-cleaning (bulking) properties of its seeds (psyllium), as well as for its leaves’ value in treating coughs and uterine complaints. As an anticatarrhal and expectorant, ribwort tea is an excellent cough remedy. (2)


Food is maybe the least exciting thing about plantain, since it’s basically a plain-tasting leaf that gets tough very early in its life. But if you get stoked about the prospect of eating food out of your lawn or healing and nourishing your body naturally, plantain is definitely for you. As with so many wild greens, the young leaves are great in salads, or braised as they grow tougher. They’re also delicious in green smoothies – especially with the knowledge of all those nutrients you’re consuming! And if you are eating a grain-free diet, you may already buy the mucilaginous psyllium as a binder for coconut flour confections, or perhaps you use it simply as a dietary fibre. Either way, find it growing atop a humble plantain. Commercial psyllium seed actually comes from P. afra, ovata, or indica, but seeds of ribwort also have mucilaginous properties. Find some ribwort blossoms that have fully gone to seed, rub the seeds out into a small bowl, blow off most of the separated husks (some remaining is fine) and add a bit of water. After a while you’ll see the mucilage forming around the seeds. The mucilage is, of course, the same colour as the water, so it is only apparent in that the seeds sit increasingly distant from each other in the water, held separated by their growing coating of mucilage. When there’s enough of it you can feel its gooeyness.


But let’s get down to business. Everybody needs some inspiration to try plantain, so I recommend starting with this lovely green plantain smoothie: Pick a bunch of youngish plantain leaves (either broad-leaved or ribwort will do), wash them, check for unwanted bits, and stuff them in your blender. Cover them with ice cold water (and a few ice cubes if your blender can handle it!), and add some fresh lemon juice. Blend until the leaves are fully macerated and suspended in the water. If you want it sweet (like lemonade!) then blend in a little honey, to taste. If you want it creamy, blend in an avocado or some nut-milk. Enjoy!


(1) Anne Berit Samuelsen: The traditional uses, chemical constituents and biological activities of Plantago major L. A review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 71, Issue 1, Pages 1-21

(2) Chloe Sobejko: Materia Medica.



What a Year for Tourism Bowen Island!


First Published on Aug 3, 2016 Written by Tourism Bowen Island

Now having completed Tourism Bowen’s first full year as a registered non-profit society, we are doing some navel-gazing and planning for next year! We invite you to join us on Tuesday August 16, 4:30 – 6 PM, for a little summer socializing and our annual general meeting. Refreshments will be served. We’ll share some of our news and recent activities and would love to hear how your summer is going. Here’s a bit of a snapshot of our first year.

We have received amazing support from the Province’s DestinationBC ….  Awarding us Official Status as a Visitor Centre for the cottage on Cardena Road.  Tourism Bowen agreed to be the operators for 2016 as the Chamber of Commerce, years ago, operated an Info Centre out of this site which was subsequently run by the Bowen Island Arts Council the past few years.    Visitor Centre status has afforded us the luxury of some amazing training for our staff, a budget that has allowed us to upgrade the facility and to cover some of our overheads and to increase the staffing so we can have a staff member greeting visitors as they walk off the ferry.

Also, DestinationBC has a wonderful young lady, Heather McGillivray who is responsible for media relations for the Vancouver Coast & Mountains Tourism Region.  She has been so amazingly supportive and her work has resulted in us posting over a dozen articles about Bowen on our website.  Never before have we had so much coverage by travel writers.  It seems like we are posting a new article almost weekly!  Reading through the stories makes one so very proud of our ‘awful island’.

Speaking of media coverage, whether we deserved it or not, so many other articles gave credit to Tourism Bowen for the new Tourism Brand, “tell your friends it’s awful here”.   This resulted in well over $150,000 in ‘free’ press (aka Earned Media) from all across Canada, into the USA and bloggers from around the world were posting and re-tweeting links to the brand.  A huge thank you to the Economic Development Committee’s Branding Committee and to islander, Chris Staples from Rethink for coming up with such an amazing catch-phrase.  The Economic Development Committee and Rethink will be doing the OFFICAL LAUNCH of the ‘Bowen Brand’ at Bowfest.   Come by the booth and spin the wheel to win some amazing prizes!

Tourism Bowen is a 100% volunteer run organization.   There is a handful of people who have worked diligently on behalf of all of the B&B’s, vacation rentals, pubs, restaurants and shops on the island who deserve to be recognized.    Our Vice President Maureen Sawasy (The Undercurrent), Treasurer Alison Morse (representing the  Bowen Golf Course), Basia Lieske (Bowen Island Events), Jacqueline Massey (Bowen Island Arts Council), Glenn Cormier (Bowen Pub .. who hosts coffee and meeting space for us monthly) and ex-secretary Jody Lorenz (Bowen  Island Tours) who recently became our Visitor Centre Supervisor.   Also attending all of our meetings is the amazing Denise Lawson of Windshift Design who has done remarkable things with our website.

Speaking of our website, our volume of ‘hits’ has risen over 75% since that “awful” presentation to Council.  We hope you are using the EVENTS page as your ‘go-to’ page to find out what is happening on our island. We would love you to link our on your website.  It is a member-driven site that offers many options for coverage.  It is one of the most active sites on the island and the perfect place for you to link to and join.   There is a ‘membership’ icon at the top-left of the home page for Membership.  Click on that and find out all of the ways you, too, can be part of our island’s promotion.

Now the sales pitch. On Tuesday August 16 we will be holding our first annual meeting at the Visitor Centre, 432 Cardena, from 4:30 to 7pm.  It’s going to be a drop-in affair with a little business thrown in for legality purposes.  We need you, not just to attend but to become involved.   When we were the Chamber, we had over 120 members.   Right now Tourism Bowen has only about 30.   The Board is volunteer.   We have one part-time staff member, 3 part-time students for the summer and a couple of awesome islanders who volunteer as Bowen Ambassadors once or twice a month.  We need board members from all aspects of the business community…. restaurants, shops, accommodation, etc etc.   We have the financial support of the municipality, DestinationBC and we were even the recipient of a grant from our MLA Jordan Sturdy.   Now we need the support from the island.

Remember, every Bowen Islander promotes tourism year round.  Every time you invite a mainlander or an international friend or relative to the island, you are welcoming a tourist to the island.  Every dollar spent by you and those visitors while they are here gets circulated at least three times through the island’s economy.

We all know it’s NOT really awful here… it’s just our little bit of heaven we love to share with the rest of the world.

© Copyright 2016