The Salish Sea does not appear on official government maps. It is the traditional homeland of the Coast Salish Native People. The sea includes the waterways officially named: Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Please explore the region with this Google Map.

There is more about the location in this article.

To find Robert Ballantyne, usually he is somewhere near here: Ballantyne on Bowen Island. Your browser may need a plugin from Google Earth to view that site.

3 Responses to “Location”

  1. 1 Alex Shapiro July 19, 2007 at 1:06 am


    First– best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    I stumbled across your blog tonight as I was Googling for information on, of course… the Salish Sea. I’m thrilled to find a northern neighbor blogging about the same daily joys of local flora and fauna that I gush on about within my own blog. I live on San Juan Island, and my small offering to virtual tourism is “Notes from the Kelp.” Since you probably will be sitting around a tad more in the coming days, I thought you might enjoy some of the posts. We are indeed very, very fortunate to call this corner of the planet home.

    I look forward to checking back in on your musings often,

  2. 2 Robert July 19, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Alex, thanks for dropping by. I am really enjoying “Notes” and will probably read all of it. Awesome music! I have added a link to Notes in my Blogroll, and the URL to my aggregator. Best wishes… rjb

  3. 3 Colin Paterson March 15, 2012 at 11:12 pm


    My name is Colin Paterson. We seem to have a few things in common. I grew up in NDG in Montreal and 30 years ago I lived on Bowen Island.
    I recently started my own blog….Colin T Paterson….Left Coast Mumblings.
    So far I have only posted 2 stories on my site but have wriiten about 40 more that still have to be edited.
    Thought you might be interested in one I wrote about Bowen Island.
    Hopefully I can attach it to this reply.

    Bowen Island

    It was the spring of 1981 and things were going very well. I was living in North Vancouver, making lots of money, and was going to get married at the beginning of August. My soon to be wife, who also worked for the same company as I did, and I had sort of poked around looking to purchase a house. The housing market was hot and prices had risen dramatically.

    One afternoon, we snuck away from work, and more out of curiosity than anything else, we caught a small ferry to Bowen Island just off of Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. We drove around the island and stopped to take a look at a few houses that were for sale. We didn’t have much of a sense of direction. Eventually we ended up in an area where we noticed a for sale sign at the end of a driveway of a large new A framed waterfront house that was a about 150 feet up from the ocean.

    We got out of the car to take a peek. The owner of the house was doing some work outside and I yelled down to him “How much are you asking?” He replied “$289,000.00” or something close to that. “Out of our budget.” I yelled back. He then suggested that we come down and take a look anyway and so we did.
    The house had an amazing view and a huge two story rock fireplace. The guy had built the house himself and was understandably very proud of his efforts.

    The owner mentioned something about his wife being away on a flight and then my girlfriend asked a question that would change the course of events. “Your wife wouldn’t be________?” Yes she was. It turned out that my girlfriend and his wife had been stewardesses together at Ward Air.

    We finished our tour of the house and went back to Vancouver and didn’t give the day on Bowen Island much more thought. A few weeks later we got a call from a realtor on Bowen Island and he said he understood that we had been looking for a house from the “$289,000.00” guy and as luck would have it he had a new listing on the next property over. We made arrangements to go over to Bowen Island and have a look the following day.

    We met up with the realtor and drove out to the house. We were out of the car less than a minute when I told the realtor “we’ll buy it!”. I loved the place before we entered the front door. The house was a Panabode. Built with flat insulated logs. There were only two bedrooms and the living room and kitchen area had an open plan. There was also a wood burning Franklin stove. The master bedroom had sliding doors that led to a big deck that continued around the front of the house. The views were spectacular.

    We moved in in May. By this time my girlfriend had joined another company. All in all, we had three cars, one of them being her company car. We made a decision to leave her own car on the island to get around in but this never worked and it sat idle for almost all the time we were living there. Ferry schedules were tight and after racing home after work, most times we just drove onto the ferry.

    My girlfriend was a bit of a social butterfly and I really didn’t understand at the time how much living on an island would cramp her style. Personally, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Almost every weekend, someone would come over and visit and check out this totally different type of lifestyle.

    We became friends with the people next door. They were in no hurry to sell their place unless they got the right price. We didn’t have a washer and dryer and they were nice enough to let us use theirs. After a while, with the help of the neighbour, I built an extension on our house for a laundry room but it never got to the point of having the equipment installed. There was a well beaten path between our house and our neigbours and many a bottle of wine was shared in both places.

    The couple next door didn’t have any children and the husband was the outdoor type. He liked to fish and hunt and prided himself in his skill with a bow and arrow. One day, I noticed my girlfriend was MIA for a while and I went next door to see what she was up to. About an hour or so before the guy next door had killed a quail with his bow and arrow, plucked it, cleaned it, and stuck it in the oven. When I arrived they were both chewing on the seasoned bird.

    I wasn’t that fussy about the neighbour telling me once about firing an arrow into a deer’s ass and seeing it disappear into the foliage and not being able to locate it.

    The neighbour also had a small two seater speedboat. It was very awkward to fish from. We used the boat to go over to Horseshoe Bay a few times and grab a beer at a pub there. The trip back to Bowen Island in the dark was a bit harrowing as the boat didn’t have any lights and we would be done for if he ever hit a deadhead log at that speed.

    At one time, back in the 1930s through the 1950s, Bowen Island was a day destination for some people from Vancouver. A steamship made a daily run. On the other side of the Island is a community called Tunstall Bay that has street lights and almost looks like a suburb. Years ago it was where a dynamite factory was located. The village where the ferries come and go from is called Snug Cove. The neighbour and I once discussed acquiring an abandoned restaurant there.

    Where we lived there were about 5-6 houses and they were perched about 150 up from the ocean. The general area is called Queen Charlotte Heights. One of our other neighbours who was a very successful architect, got the rest of us to agree to call our specific area Adam’s Bluff, the name of one of his children.

    The view from our place was nothing short of stunning. I used to joke about how we could almost see the hand of cards someone was playing on a passing ferry at night. There were always eagles at the top of big trees and hummingbirds buzzed around the deck. Seeing deer was common place.

    We had a bit of a mice problem for a while and I set up some traps. I wasn’t that good at it. One day I found a mouse dragging a trap around and when I got him extracted from it tossed him off the deck where an eagle caught it before it hit the ground.

    I also built a goldfish pond at the back of the house complete with lily pads. For some reason some garter snakes decided to call it home.

    I was pretty keen about fishing back then and although the Cliffside that we were living on was steep and treacherous, I would manage to make my way down to do some cod fishing. Cod are a bottom fish and the lure used to catch them is called a Buzz Bomb. Kind of a diamond shaped piece of metal that flutters as it sinks. I went through a load of those lures. If you didn’t yank right away when the cod hit the lure would be lost in the rocks for sure. One day when I was fishing down there a rather large sea otter poked his head out of the water and gave me the once over. Kind of freaked me out for a moment or two.

    My girlfriend had some friends who had boats that visited us. One guy had a yacht that had two bathrooms. Pretty impressive. Another guy, who was the brother of a friend she had flown with had a trawler that he did some weather ship stuff for the government for from time to time. The local folks were quite impressed when he pulled into Snug Cove. He took us out fishing. He was kind of muscle bound and I remember I was having trouble with my reel being secured to my rod. He expertly wrapped some twine around it. A year or so later we learned that he had died of cancer. My rod had a “Peetz” reel which was made of wood and had brass fittings. Each time I used it I was reminded of the guy who fixed it. Unfortunately I lost the whole gear when it bounced off the boat I was in a few years later while out salmon fishing.

    Horseshoe Bay is a bit of a tourist trap. Quite often we would find ourselves stuck there waiting for the next ferry. There were a few times on a Friday night when we couldn’t make it home at all because the ferry line up was full. We also got tired of the restaurant food. One of the restaurants was called Troll’s. The owner actually won the lotto not once but twice. At one time he lived in the house where James Clavell wrote Shogun.

    There was also a place in Horseshoe Bay that rented boats for fishing. It was called Sewell’s. One day I took my father-in-law out in one of their boats and we managed to catch one or two decent sized salmon. As we were walking back to my car a guy who owned a French restaurant nearby asked to see what we had caught. He offered us 5 bucks a fish. I pointed out that we had just spent several hours and something like a hundred bucks on the boat rental. I thought about asking him to kiss my ass.

    The months went by and in late July my girlfriend flew back to Saskatchewan in preparation for our August 1st wedding. My mother, older sister and her daughter flew out to Vancouver and we all drove to Saskatchewan. We spent our honeymoon in the western US and headed back to Bowen Island.

    My now wife was a big fan of the ski lifestyle in Whistler having spent many a weekend up there when she was single. We made a decision to join a cabin up there for the coming winter. We only made it up there twice so it was a big waste of money. One day we were all packed up to go and when we got to the ferry at Snug Cove we found out that the dock had pretty much blown away.

    My best man at our wedding and his wife had a couple of young babies and we kind of got roped into babysitting on some weekends. My expectation was that if we ever had kids that the babysitting deal might be reciprocated but it never was. With the colder weather and the isolation of living on Bowen Island I could see that my wife was losing some enthusiasm for our different lifestyle.

    My wife’s parents, along with her sister and her new husband who is a doctor, came out to visit us that winter. The doctor and my wife’s father went into Vancouver on their own and got stuck in a snowstorm on the way back. Apparently the car they were in couldn’t make it up a big hill and the doctor got out to push. He had a new pair of shoes on and in order to not ruin them he decided to push the car in his stocking feet. He wasn’t a happy camper when they finally made it to our front door. He was about this close to frostbite.

    My wife’s parents had a condo in Honolulu and I joined them there that winter followed by my wife a week later. My wife and I had actually first become involved with one another through jogging together. One day during the first week in Hawaii I decided to go jogging along the canal. It was really hot out and I can remember my body feeling kind of tight but thought it would just go away. That night we went out for dinner with some friends to a restaurant where all the waiters and waitresses dressed up in costumes of famous historical people. I threw myself into the back seat of the taxi and something seemed to pop. I had no idea of what the next several months had in store for me.

    We got home to Bowen Island and I was having continued back pain. Nothing seemed to help it get any better. It got to a point where I would have great difficulty climbing stairs. I went to see a variety of doctors. Finally, it was suggested that only a long period of back rest would do. I had to quit my job. The sales manager I worked for didn’t want to lose my productivity and suggested a trip I had won to anywhere in the world would be forfeited if I quit. What a prince! I ended up getting several thousand dollars in lieu of the trip.

    I wound up back on Bowen Island flat out in bed with a sleeping bag under my knees for week after week. There was no cable where we were and we only got one TV station. I started to get into the soap operas. One late night I was watching a movie about giant rats and was almost blown away when I read the credits and it said that the movie had been filmed on Bowen Island.

    Things went from bad to worse. My muscles were starting to atrophy. One day we went to a doctor’s appointment in Vancouver and decided to go to a restaurant and I remember someone bumping into me and it taking all the effort I could manage from not falling to the ground. Finally a decision was made to get operated on. They were having a hell of a time trying to find the problem. I had had a myleogram that gave me a terrible headache. By now I was in the hospital and on a steady intake of Demerol.
    I was pretty spaced out. The guy I shared a room with had recently become a paraplegic. It all seemed like I was in some kind of dreamland.

    The name of the operation is a chymopapain. They inject a derivative of papaya juice into the spine. Possible side effects are anaphylaxis, paralysis of the legs, or death. I looked it up. Fortunately all went well except for right after the operation when I was in excruciating pain and it felt like an elephant was standing on my back. Early the next morning the doctor came by and asked how I was. I felt so good that the moment he left I climbed over the guard rail on the hospital bed and made my way down to the smoking room where I had the closest thing to a religious experience in my life. I was very grateful.

    Meanwhile, back on the ranch on Bowen Island there were some decisions to be made. Interest rates had gone through the roof and the housing market had fallen apart. On top of that I had eaten through a lot of my savings and the only income we had was my wife’s. The idyllic setting was starting to fall apart. My wife had lost any zest she may have once had for the place. It was just too far out of the way.

    We put the house up for sale. It was now a buyer’s market and not a lot of people are or were interested in a lifestyle dictated by ferry schedules. We kept on lowering the price but still no bights. One day we got a knock on the door from a neighbour who was from Alberta. He didn’t cheer us up much by telling us about someone who had cancer. It may have been him. I can’t recall. What really pissed me off is when he asked if we were going to take our plants with us. Reminded me of the scene in Zorba The Greek when people go into a dying person’s room and remove the curtains and furniture.

    Finally, we cut a deal with the credit union and gave the house back to them. An odd thing about our mortgage was the lawyer who represented the credit union when we did all the paper work, turned out to be a guy who had grown up across the street from me in Montreal.

    We ended up moving to an apartment in Vancouver called Shannon Mews which surrounds the old Austin Taylor estate on south Granville Street.

    We never went back to Bowen Island after we left although I did go fishing a few times with the next door neighbour when he got a bigger boat. He and his wife swore they would never have kids but a couple of years later they had a baby girl. She is probably very good with a bow and arrow.

    I now live on Vancouver Island and usually take the ferry from Duke Point near Nanaimo to Twassassen near Vancouver. Every now and then I catch a ferry to Horseshoe Bay and I each time I do I try to find that house up on the ridge on Bowen Island from almost 30 years ago. It must be a million dollar property today.

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