The community of Bowser is named after William John Bowser, who served as the premier of British Columbia from 1915 1916. This small waterfront community was established in 1914, during the construction of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. Logging has been the main economy in Bowser for years, but more recently, tourism has grown in importance.
During the 1930s, Bowser's local hotel was infamous for featuring Mike the dog, who had been trained by his owners to receive payments and deliver change.
Bowser is located on Highway 19A, 21 km (13 mi) north of Qualicum Beach in the area known as Lighthouse Country on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Lighthouse Country, named for the two lighthouses that mark its boundaries, stretches from Qualicum Bay to Deep Bay.
At Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park, you can experience the magic of the underground world in the many protected caves. The art of cave exploration is known as spelunking and Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is the perfect place to discover this unique activity. From educational family-oriented tours to deep, dark adventure, the caves protected within this park offer something for everyone. Knowledgeable guides can lead visitors through the caves to discover this magical world of crystal formations and ancient fossils firsthand. Though the park has two small caves visitors can explore on their own, a guided tour of one of the larger caves offers more variety and a chance to learn about the cave's unique geology and history.
Rosewall Creek Provincial Park is situated along picturesque Rosewall Creek, south of Fanny Bay and north of Bowser. It has a wheelchair-accessible trail through the rainforest to a waterfall and picnic area. The park features a mixture of coniferous trees interspersed with striking broad leaf maple trees. One of the best times to visit this park is in the fall when the color of the maple leaves makes an attractive backdrop for photographers.
One of the best picnic sites in the area, Spider Lake is located west of Qualicum Beach and features a small sandy beach perfect for water lovers of all ages. The warm water of Spider Lake is noted for its excellent canoeing, kayaking and swimming and the park is an idyllic spot for a quiet family outing. Paddlers can spend a peaceful afternoon exploring the shoreline and the many secluded bays of this lake. Spider Lake is stocked with small mouth bass and Rainbow trout, providing fishing opportunities year-round. Powerboats are prohibited.
Golf is played year-round at the Arrowsmith Golf & Country Club, an 18-hole Par 61 golf course 10 minutes south of Bowser, near Qualicum Beach. A beautiful golf course with views of Echo Valley and Mt. Arrowsmith it is a favourite with all levels of golfer.
Kayakers can put in at Rosewall Creek Provincial Park, just west of Deep Bay, or launch at Deep Bay, a natural harbour on Qualicum Bay, protected by the curve of Mapleguard Point. You'll also find good windsurfing in the protected waters of Deep Bay.
Saltwater fishing charters, boat rentals, supply stores and licensing outlets are available. Fly-fish for salmon near Parksville and Qualicum Beach or fish some of the streams and lakes nearby. The prolific herring spawn and shrimp hatches at nearby Deep Bay attracts the larger chinook salmon, some up to thirty pounds.
Visitors can learn about the area's fishery at the Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery which offers a self-guided tour and trails.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia