English Bay Launch, The Bowen Island foot passenger ferry, is an affordable, beautiful and eco-friendly way to travel from Vancouver to Bowen


I discovered the Bowen Island foot passenger ferry out of desperation. I was helping orgaize my friend’s recent stagette and because none of us gals own a vehicle, the plan was to borrow my friend’s car, drive to Horseshoe Bay and take the BC Ferry to Snug Cove on Bowen Island.


But, days before our getaway weekend, my friend’s car broke down and we found ourselves scrambling for a Plan B. On a whim, we looked into the rumour of a foot passenger ferry between Vancouver and Bowen Island. Luckily, rumour was indeed fact.


English Bay Launch

The Bowen-run company English Bay Launch runs several ferries a day between Vancouver and Bowen. They have a commuter route Monday to Friday from Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver, and the more popular seven-days-a-week route from Granville Island to Snug Cove on Bowen.


I was pleased to find out that the English Bay Launch, operating since October 2009, is an eco-conscious company. While it isn’t mandatory, they ask that passengers reserve their passage in advance—not only because trips during the summer months are usually full, but also because it allows them to choose the most fuel-efficient boat based on the number of passengers.


In 2010, staff even volunteered their time down in Louisiana, New Orleans, to help with oil spill cleanup. This earns them extra points in my book!


Bowen Ferry fare

This is the best $30 you can spend! It's transportation, a getaway and echo-tour all in one. The ferry fare is $30 for a roundtrip or $20 for one-way. So, while you may want to stay forever on the island, it doesn’t hurt to plan a return home.


And as mentioned above, it is highly recommended that you book your seat or else a group of spontaneous travelers lurking at the Granville Island Public Market might just beat you to it.


What to do on Bowen Island

While the boat ride is pleasurable on its own, you might as well check a couple of sightseeing must-dos off the list. You can rent a kayak from the wharf as soon as you hit the other side and take it out for a paddle in the many inlets and coves around Bowen. Or, for the cardio-lover, take a hike: Mount Gardner is a popular option.


Lastly, don’t miss the Bowen Island Summer Market in Snug Cove between July and October, where you can fill your backpack with local jewellery, arts and crafts, organic veggies and fresh hearty bread.