HOWE SOUND is a roughly triangular sound , or more precisely a
network of fjords situated immediately northwest of
* 1 Geography
* 2 History
* 3 Islands in
* 4 Transportation
* 5 Industry and towns
* 6 See also
* 7 References
Howe Sound's mouth at the
Strait of Georgia
Strait of Georgia is situated between West
Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast . The sound is triangular shaped,
open on its southeast towards the Strait of Georgia, and extends 42
kilometres to its head at Squamish . There are several islands in the
sound, three of which are large and mountainous in their own right.
The steep-sided mainland shores funnel the breezes as the daily
thermals build the wind to 20 knots plus at the northern end of the
sound on a typical summer day. A small outcrop of volcanic rock is
located on the eastern shore of
Howe Sound called the Watts Point
volcanic centre .
The history of
Howe Sound begins with the Indigenous people, the
Shishalh , who roamed this land and traveled on this body
of water for thousands of years, had village sites and camp sites
spread throughout the area. The land and islands are still used by
Shishalh for cultural practices. Both the Squamish and
Shishalh are a part of the Coast Salish linguistic and cultural
Spanish explorers observed the sound in 1791 and named it Boca del
Carmelo. Captain George
Vancouver entered the sound in 1792, and named
it after Admiral Earl Howe .
In 1888, copper was discovered in the mountains around Britannia
Creek, south of Squamish. Large scale mining began at Britannia Beach
in 1905, and by 1929, the largest copper mine in the British Empire
was located here, beside the shores of Howe Sound. The mine closed in
1974, but part of its historical legacy has been the large amounts of
toxic effluent it has deposited into Howe Sound.
ISLANDS IN HOWE SOUND
Passage Island marks the entrance to Howe Sound. It has a few
year-round residents and spectacular views of Downtown
Vancouver Island . An unincorporated area, it is part of the Greater
Vancouver Electoral Area A which is a member of the Greater Vancouver
Regional District . Ships entering
Howe Sound will pass east or west
of Passage Island.
Bowen Island is the most populous island and is nearest
being just opposite Horseshoe Bay . It is incorporated as an island
municipality and is a member municipality of Metro
Gambier Island is the largest of the
Howe Sound islands, to the
northwest of Bowen, near the
Langdale ferry landing. Gambier has a
small resident population, plus hundreds more who enjoy the SW
peninsula community in the summer months. This area has a year-round
foot ferry, the Stormaway IV , run by
BC Ferries , and a community
centre. Until recently, the only commercial location on the island,
the General Store, was located here, near New Brighton , where the
ferry lands. The store is now closed. This area of Gambier has
landline power and telephone. There also are numerous seasonal homes
line the shores of the southern bays (West Bay, Centre Bay, Port
Graves, and Halkett Bay) along with several local yacht club
outstations in both the southern and northern parts of the island.
Beyond the SW peninsula, seasonal visitors rely on solar, wind and
generator power. The northwestern shore of Gambier, with adjacent
Thornborough Channel, is still dominated by the forest industry. The
"pond" at Andy's Bay is one of North America's largest logsorts. A
resident-operated woodlot on provincial land (WL039) is located near
Andy's Bay, with active logging and reforestation. The northeast
quadrant of Gambier also is Crown land, with two more major woodlots
proposed by the provincial Ministry of Forests, but not pursued as yet
due to the opposition of many local residents, members of the Squamish
Nation, whose territory this includes, and concerned supporters of a
less-industrial Howe Sound. The island has excellent hiking in the
provincial Crown land that dominates its north sector.
A third, smaller but extremely steep and conical island to the
northeast of both is
Anvil Island , also known as Hat Island. Anvil
Island has a summer church camp as well as a number of seasonal homes,
primarily in the southern bay formed by a prominent eastward
projecting peninsula. The north facing bay of this peninsula is
exposed to strong overnight and winter outflow northerly winds.
Howe Sound as seen from
Cypress Mountain .
Keats Island , near Gibson's Landing, has numerous summer homes
lining its shores, in addition to a large church camp for children, a
large retreat resort and
Plumper Cove Marine Provincial Park . The
island is serviced by water taxi from Langdale. There is a small core
of permanent residents living in
Between Keats and Bowen Islands lie the Pasley group, a cluster of
privately owned islands, each with a scattering of seasonal homes.
Further southeast lies Worlcombe Island, also seasonally inhabited.
Just north of Horseshoe Bay lies
Bowyer Island , another steep sided
island with seasonal homes along its south and west shores. Like
Bowyer Island is also an unincorporated area and part
of the Greater
Vancouver Electoral Area A which is a member of the
Vancouver Regional District .
Uninhabited islands in the northern section of
Howe Sound include the
Defence Islands, a pair of rocky islands that comprise the Defence
Islands Indian Reserves 28 and 28A.
Christie Islet and Pam Rocks just south of
Anvil Island are
recognized bird breeding sites and a great place to view seals sunning
themselves. Pam Rocks is a reporting weather station for the marine
weather system. Winter northerly gales can reach close to hurricane
force here (see squamish wind ).
Gambier Island and the Port Mellon mill lies Woolridge
Island, privately owned with a single residence.
British Columbia Highway 99 (the Sea-to-Sky Highway, also known as
the Squamish Highway) runs along the east shore of Howe Sound, linking
Lower Mainland to
Lions Bay ,
Britannia Beach , Squamish , where
it then proceeds inland to Whistler and beyond. From 2007 to 2010,
this highway was upgraded to what would ultimately become a mixture of
four-lane divided sections, three lane sections with alternating
passing lanes, and some improved two lane sections. The first section
of Olympics-related improvements, between Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay,
opened in December 2005. Also following the east shore, and built
before and below the highway, is the former
British Columbia Railway
which was recently sold by the provincial government to the Canadian
National Railway Company . The
Pacific Great Eastern Railway between
Squamish and Lillooet was constructed 1912-16, and Squamish became a
busy place as a rail-port for freight and also burgeoning passenger
traffic as lodges up the rail line became popular with weekenders from
the city, who reached the railway via the MV Britannia . Railway
connections to North
Vancouver were completed in the 1950s, with a
highway built in the later 1960s that was the precursor to today's
Sea-to-Sky Highway .
BC Ferries runs regularly scheduled ferry service between Horseshoe
Langdale and between Horseshoe Bay and Snug Cove on Bowen
Island . They also run a foot-passenger-only ferry that serves New
Gambier Island and
Keats Landing and Eastbourne
settlements on Keats Island from the
Langdale ferry terminal near
Gibsons , an easy transfer from the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to
Langdale .There is also private water taxi service from Horseshoe Bay
Bowen Island ,
Gambier Island and Keats Island .
INDUSTRY AND TOWNS
Howe Sound from Mount Roderick. Woodfibre on near (west) shore
Britannia Beach on far shore
Squamish is a minor deepwater port. It was the original southern
terminus of the BCR in the days when it was the Pacific Great Eastern
, and had a busy ferry terminal where travellers would disembark from
ferries and steamers bringing them in from
Vancouver harbour. In the
1960s what was then called the Squamish Highway was finally pushed
through from Vancouver. This made the former steamer service
unnecessary. Once a thriving forestry town, with recent cutbacks in
logging along with the closure and dismantling of a major sawmill in
2004, Squamish has become a tourist destination and a commuter
community for workers in nearby Whistler and Vancouver. The recent
closure of the Woodfibre pulp mill in 2006 signals an end to the
resource based economy here. Squamish is a world centre for rock
climbing, with the 1500' bulk of the
Stawamus Chief , a huge rock
formation always busy with climbers, along with other formations
overlooking downtown and the head of Howe Sound. In addition,the
strong winds and flat waters at the upper end of
Howe Sound have made
Squamish a mecca for windsurfers, kite boarders and keelboat sailors.
Just south of town along Highway 99 is Shannon Falls , a popular
tourist attraction and provincial park, and
Darrell Bay , which is the
ferry dock for service to the former pulp mill at Woodfibre , across
the sound. Woodfibre has no road access. From the early 1900s until
1973 there was a small company town surrounding the mill where most
employees lived. By 1975 all employees had relocated, mostly to
Squamish, and the town was dismantled. Over the next 30 years the mill
slowly expanded into the former townsite, but it closed in early 2006.
Porteau Cove is a provincial campsite and also a location for scuba
diving, as artificial reefs have been sunk in the area. The bluffs
above the highway in this area are one of the main avalanche hazards
to both the highway and the rail line, which are squeezed together
between the foot of the bluffs and the shoreline.
Furry Creek is the location of a new upscale golf course and resort
development. Proposals have called for a new highway from Vancouver
Capilano River watershed would emerge on Highway 99 at Furry
Creek. However, the fact that this route traverses the Lower
Mainland's Capilano watershed creates nearly insurmountable political
obstacles to its construction.
Lions Bay is a small residential community, incorporated as a
village, climbing the mountainside from
Howe Sound up to the west peak
of the pair of summits known as The Lions , which overlook Vancouver
on the other side.
Near Squamish is
Britannia Beach , the former gold and copper mining
town and port with some highway-based eateries and stores. Its name
does not come directly from associations with Britain, but from the MV
Britannia , the old
Vancouver -Squamish steamer (A new MV Britannia
built in 1983 is in use as a tourboat based in Coal Harbour,
Vancouver). Today the mine mill site is the popular Britannia Mine
Museum , with mine shaft tours, gold panning etc. The prominent
multi-story mine building underwent a restoration with the replacement
of hundreds of window panes. The former mine site is also frequently
used as a shooting site for a variety of TV and movie productions,
most notably the popular X-Files TV series.
Horseshoe Bay is a residential and commercial district of Vancouver
on the southern edge of the
Sea-to-Sky Highway . The highway clings to
the cliffside above the BC
Ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay.
Restaurants, tourist shops and galleries, a pub or two and
recreational marinas are also situated in the community. Ferries from
Horseshoe Bay, West
Vancouver go to Departure Bay in
Vancouver Island ,
Bowen Island , and
Langdale on the Sunshine Coast ,
which is the ferry terminal for the southern Sunshine Coast.
The peninsula southwest of Horseshoe Bay, West
at Whytecliffe, an upscale residential area and public park, which is
the southern point of Howe Sound's east shore. South of here is the
entrance of English Bay and
Burrard Inlet . Also in the vicinity of
Howe Sound's mouth, at Point Atkinson is
Lighthouse Park .
Just north of
Langdale is Port Mellon , another pulp and paper mill
somewhat larger than Woodfibre . Port Mellon, which, unlike Woodfibre,
produces paper and pulp (and is serviced by road from
Gibsons/Langdale) is one of the oldest operating mills in B.C.
Woodfibre's closure included measures securing the fibre supply for
Port Mellon, making its future considerably more secure.
At the southwest "corner" of Howe Sound, just a few kilometres south
Ferry terminal is the town of
perhaps best known as the locale for the immensely popular former CBC
The Beachcombers . The restaurant featured in the
series, "Molly's Reach", remains open for business today.
* ^ "Howe Sound". Encyclopedia of British Columbia. Harbour
* ^ "Britannia Mines". Encyclopedia of British Columbia. Harbour
* ^ A B "Metro
Vancouver > Services > Electoral Area A".
metrovancouver.org. Metro Vancouver. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
* ^ Sea to Sky Project overview - Ministry of Transportation
* ^ Procaccini, Marco (December 29, 2005). "Squamish Closure Latest
in Grim Trend — Amidst \'BC boom\', Pulp and Saw Mill Jobs
Vanishing". thetyee.ca. The Tyee. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
* ^ Notes from the
Howe Sound Community Forum (p.7). November,
Coordinates : 49°33′N 123°16′W / 49.550°N 123.267°W
/ 49.550; -123.267
* more ...
* more ...
* English Bay
* Gulf of Georgia
* Howe Sound
* Queen Charlotte Sound
Strait of Georgia
Strait of Georgia
* GND :