The Snug Cove Gateway Mural welcomes islanders and visitors to Bowen Island (Nexwlélexwm), with a panoramic journey to and across this island jewel nestled in the Salish Sea. It seeks to celebrate the community, people and places of the island by featuring highlights of local landscapes, flora and fauna, whimsy and spirit of the island as well as references to some cultural and historical elements.

The 2022 Gateway Mural was a project of the Public Arts Advisory Committee of the Bowen Island Municipality, funded in part by Sangre de Fruta Botanical.

Three artists, Di, Paula Love and Sarah Haxby, were commissioned to create the artwork. They began by engaging the community through a survey asking islanders of all ages which animals, places and plants best represent the island. Over 125 suggestions went into a design of land and waterscapes with close-up flora and fauna elements. Community guest artists were invited to participate by painting pieces of the mural, and youth artists were mentored over the summer.

Guest artists: Natalia Dominguez, Bob Doucet, Janet Esseiva, Nick Jens, Wylde Marsh, Marysia McGilvray, Alison Mitchell, Matilda Shapland, Adam Taylor, Liz Watson, Simon Daniel James Winadzi, Ron Woodall, Danuta Zwierciadlowski, The Wayfinders Collective (Diane Buchanan, Jane Dunfield, Coral Louie, Reidun VanKervel), Sangre de Fruta employees.

Child and youth artists: Hannah F., Summer I., Mizuki J., Rachel M., Sasha M., Kate P., Ayla S., Community Recreation summer camp kids (AJ, Dela, Elliot, Felix, Frankie, Freyja, George, Greta, Isla, James, Keira, Meiko, Masha, Nia, Stella), and the infants and children at the Bowen Island Children’s Centre.

Additional Project Supporters: Raf Idzbeski, Robin Savoie, Axel Muñoz Vida, Helen Wallwork, The Little Red Church/Collins’ Hall, Adam Taylor and his underwater photos, Bowen Fish and Wildlife, BICS, Bowen Island Recreation and Community Services, Scott Massey and his studio, and many other friends, family and members of the community. 

Project documentation:  by Jon Smith, WetINK Fine Art

Download the Story of the Gateway Mural by Sarah Haxby (PDF)

Panel 1 | Panel 2 | Panel 3 | Panel 4 | Panel 5 | Panel 6 | Panel 7 | Panel 8 | Panel 9 | Panel 10 | Panel 11 | Panel 12 | Panel 13 | Panel 14 | Panel 15 | Panel 16

Panel 1

Location: Under the waters of the Salish Sea, Howe Sound.

Artists: seal by Nick Jens; rockfish by Natalia Dominguez; moon jellies by Paula Love.

Natural Features: Glass sea sponges, moon jellies, harbor seal, bull kelp, rock fish

Other info: In the summer of 2020, five new living glass sponge reefs were identified and confirmed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in the Howe Sound area.

Panel 2

Location: under the waters of Howe Sound, part of the Salish Sea.

Artists: Queen of Capilano by Liz Watson; sea slug by Paula Love; dolphin by Di; school of minnows by the Community Recreation summer camp kids

Natural Features: Bullwhip kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), alabaster nudibranch sea slug

Cultural Connections: The Union Steamship Company of British Columbia Ltd, incorporated in 1889, was the first public transportation to Bowen Island. The MV Bainbridge was the first vehicle-carrying ferry, introduced in 1958.

The Bowen Island ferry has been supplemented over the years by many water taxi companies, including PDQ Water Taxi, Mercury Water Taxi, Radio Water Taxi, Horseshoe Bay Water Taxi, Freemac Amphibious Taxis, Pete’s Water Taxi, Cormorant Marine Services, and Bowen Island Land and Sea Taxi.

Panel 3

Location: under the waters of the Salish Sea, looking north towards Bowyer Island, Anvil Island and up Howe Sound.

Artists: Pacific Northwest octopus by Hannah Florendo; sea stars and school of minnows (continued from panel two) by the Community Recreation summer camp kids (Mizuki, Nia, Meiko, Masha, Felix, George, Keira, Isla, Dela, Greta, Frankie, AJ, Stella, Elliot, James, Hanna and Freyja); anemone, plumose anemone and sea urchins by Paula Love; dolphins by Sarah Haxby.

Natural features: dolphins, sea stars, anemones, sea urchins.

Cultural Connection:  Átl’ka7tsem (Howe Sound) was designated a UNESCO biosphere region in October of 2021.

Panel 4

Location:  Under the waters of the Salish Sea, looking North towards the Sunshine Coast with Finnisterre Island in the background.

Artists: orca design by Simon Daniel James, Winadzi; mountains and sky assistance by Danuta Zwierciadlowski; sea stars by Sasha M, Summer I; wolf eel, anemones and sea urchin by Paula Love.

Natural Features: orcas, sea star, anemones, sea urchins, wolf eel.

Cultural Connection: The First Nations symbolism of the Orca, Yew yew (yoh yoh)  in Squamish, symbolizes family, longevity, community and protection.

Panel 5

Location: under the waters of the Salish Sea, looking North towards the Sunshine Coast

Artists: breaching orca design by Simon Daniel James, Winadzi; “Getting Ready for the tourists” adapted with permission from a cartoon by Ron Woodall by Sarah Haxby

Natural Features: Sunshine Coast Mountain Range, Orcas

Cultural Connection: The importance of including one of Ron Woodall’s cartoons as an example of the local sense of humour was important to the mural. With over two thousand cartoons reflecting on just how funny Bowen Island and its denizens’ quirks are, the hardest part was choosing which cartoon to reference.

Panel 6

Location: entering Snug Cove, Mannion Bay and Millers Landing in the background.

Artists: river otter and flying gull by Ayla S; sea stars by Rachel M. and Sarah Haxby; sailboats by Matilda Shapland; gull eating a sea star by Paula Love.

Natural features: river otter, gulls, sea-stars

Natural history: Sea stars have been wasting away since 2013 and studies have shown this could be due to bacteria or a virus that thrives in warm waters. The heat dome that took place in late June in the summer of 2021 caused further die back as the heat literally cooked billions of creatures living in the intertidal zone each time the tide was low and the shoreline was exposed.

The North American river otter lives all over Bowen Island. Semiaquatic, it can be seen at the beach, in streams, and even in culverts.

Panel 7

Location: Mannion Bay, Mother’s Beach, the Causeway, Crippen Regional Park, and the Lagoon.

Artists: great blue heron by Wylde Marsh; harbour seal by Marysia McGilvray; kayaks by Matilda Shapland; sea stars by Sarah Haxby.

Natural Features. The Great blue heron, harbour seal and sea stars are just a few creatures that live in the rich habitat of the intertidal zone.

Cultural Connection: The causeway we see today was built by the Union Steamship Company in 1925 to link the hotel grounds with Snug Cove, and is among the inaugural 10 entries in Bowen Island’s Heritage Registry. The blanket on the beach is an old wool Union Steamship blanket with the green lines that were the company’s plate wear design. The sand on Mother’s, Sandy and Tunstall Bay Beach was barged over from Scotland around a hundred years ago, as there are no naturally sandy beaches.

Panel 8

Location: The Causeway, Lagoon and looking across the island to historical agricultural sites.

Artists: Endswell Farm house, sheep (one wearing a Bowen Island Black Sheep Welsh Border Morris dance hat) and llama by Bob Doucet; Bowen apple heritage variety by the employees of Sangre de Fruta; ducks, salmon and celtic knotwork, swan by Sarah Haxby.

Natural features: mute swan, mallard ducks, salmon species: chum, coho, chinook and steelhead.

Cultural Connections: This panel celebrates an array of Bowen history including Bowen Island agricultural heritage varieties such as the fruit trees in Davies Heritage Orchard. There is also a nod to the Bowen Island Black Sheep Welsh Border Morris Dancers, a spirited folk dance troupe that was active from approximately 2000-2018.

Natural history: Mute swans can live for up to thirty years and mate for life. Mary the swan can still be seen swimming in her various favourite locations on Bowen Island, favouring Mannion Bay, Snug Cove and a pond out at Endswell Farm. Mary the swan was given her name by Nicolette McIntosh (aka “Mrs. Mac”) lived on the well-known Endswell Farm on Bowen Island from 1964 until 2019, when she passed away, leaving a legacy of agriculture and art. The Gateway mural was painted in part with paint brushes donated to the project by her estate.

Panel 9

Location: At the edge of the Lagoon

Artists: Seaside Cottage No. 1 by Alison Mitchell; sunflowers by Kate P.; vegetable garden by the Community Recreation Summer camp kids; meadow with dandelions by Janet Esseiva; Canadian swallowtail, red-legged frog, honey bee hive and deer by Di.

Natural features: Keystone, a current Cove cat, and Missy the dog, sit on the porch and are the symbolic representatives of the many animal advocates and organizations on Bowen Island such as C.A.W.E.S., the Missy Foundation and VOKRA volunteers.

Cultural connection: The Union Steamship Cottage known as Seaside Number One stands as the symbolic representative of the over two hundred cottages that were nestled into the landscape from the Cove to the Deep Bay Neighbourhood. From 1900- the mid 1950s, Bowen Island was best known as a tourist destination and farming community.

Panel 10

Location: Crippen Park Meadow and Killarney Lake

Artists: meadow by Janet Esseiva; fawn and kingfisher by Paula Love; geese by Di; trout by Sarah Haxby.

Natural Features: alder trees, Pacific dogwood, Canada geese, bullrushes, belted kingfisher, coastal cutthroat trout, frog eggs, meadow mix of dandelions and grasses and flowers, a fawn.

Cultural Connection: the Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) was adopted in 1956 as British Columbia’s official flower.

Panel 11

Location: Killarney Lake in Crippen Park.

Artists: canoe, newts, skunk, skunk cabbage, lilies, beaver home, water, cedar trees by the Wayfinders Collective(Reidun VanKervel, Coral Louie, Diane Buchanan and Jane Dunfield); banana slug with Celtic knot work motif by Sarah Haxby.

Natural features: beaver, banana slug, skunk, newts, yellow pond lilies, skunk cabbage.

Cultural connection: The Banana Slug (Ariolimax columbianus) is native to the Pacific Northwest region and can grow to a length of 20-25cm. Bo the Banana slug is the mascot of the Bowfest Community Fair which has featured slug races for over 40 years.

Panel 12

Location: forests of Bowen Island which include private land, parklands, crown land and the Apodaca Ecological reserve.

Artists: Paula Love

Natural Features: cedar, Douglas fir, hemlock, huckleberry, black capped chickadees, Pacific tree frog, sword ferns, raven, blacktailed buck, salmonberries, various fungi and a buck mule (black tailed) deer. An old growth stump cut down in the logging of the late 1800s has turned into a second growth nurse-log, with a hemlock and huckleberry growing on it. Black capped chickadees sitting in the huckleberry bush.

Cultural Connection: Opa is the name of a large first growth Douglas fir tree that has survived many storms, fires, and attempt to log it. This massive tree is located at Xenia retreat and open for respectful daytime visits from the public. Offerings and letters sometimes adorn the tree, but the main goal when visiting Opa is the invitation to silently appreciate the ancient tree from its roots up to its branches. A bench is located near the tree to allow visitors to lean back and to look up… look waaaay up!

Panel 13

Location: rain forests of Bowen Island

Artists: Paula Love

Natural Features: Anna’s hummingbird, foxglove, daisies, pileated woodpecker, barred owl, northern flicker, Douglas squirrel and big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum). with mosses and liquorice fern growing on it. Alders often have polypores, also called bracket fungi or shelf fungi, growing on them. The mushrooms growing on the Alder are Pleurotus ostreatus, common name Oyster mushrooms, and the second ones are Crepidotus, common name Oysterlings. In both panels of the Love Forest there is Amanita muscaria too, a beautiful and highly poisonous mushroom. 

Cultural connection: The Vancouver Museum once had a world record Canadian Broad Leaf Maple Tree, that was collected on Bowen Island in the early 1930s. It reportedly measured 26” from lower tip to lower tip and 260 sq. inches in total area (about 65 cm and 1,625 sq cm! That record was broken in 2014, when a maple leaf was found in Victoria that was 60.9cm wide and 72cm long.

Panel 14

Location: Cape Roger Curtis at sunset. Looking across the waters at the Pasley Islands (Pasley, Worlcombe, Mickey, Ragged, Hermit Popham and Little Popham island) and the Sunshine Coast.

Artists: Di.

Natural features: arbutus, salal

Natural history: Arbutus (Arbutus menzesii) is the only native broadleaf evergreen tree in Canada, growing up to 25m tall. It’s white flowers that are a favourite of hummingbirds and the bright red berries are enjoyed by birds.

The Cape Roger Curtis lands consist of 255 hectares (631 acres) at the entrance to Howe Sound, on the southwest corner of Bowen Island, with over 3 km of coastline, mature second growth forest, and rare coastal bluff ecosystems.

Panel 15

Location: Cape Roger Curtis at sunset. Looking across the waters at the Pasley Islands.

Artists: Di, Bowen Children’s Centre kids

Natural features: humpback whale.

Natural history: In the Salish sea, the Humpback whales are reported to be thriving in the waters of southern British Columbia and northern Washington state. Researchers at the U.S.-based Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) and the Center for Whale Research say a record number of humpback calves were identified in the Salish Sea in 2021.

Fun facts: the pattern of handprints and footprints on the humpback whale were contributed by the babies and children of the Bowen Island Children’s Centre. Each child created a set of prints that was created as part of this project. Thank you to our youngest community members for artistically contributing to the project!

Panel 16

Location: Cape Roger Curtis at sunset.

Artist: Di

Natural Features: Californian Sea lions