Route 8

Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) to Snug Cove (Bowen Island)

Voyage Distance: 5.6 km
Voyage Time: 20 minutes
Queen of Capilano
Sailing Frequency: 15-16 round trips per day


Route 8 connects the island community of Bowen Island with the rest of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) of which it is a part. The short but scenic route crosses Queen Charlotte Channel, between Bowen Island and West Vancouver near the mouth of Howe Sound. On a nice day, the view up the sound is spectacular with towering mountains and numerous forested islands. There is usually a lot of ship traffic (pleasure and working) to watch in the area as well, especially in the summer.

The Bowen Island route can be very busy at times and travellers can be left waiting on either side of the water. Many workers (and students) use the ferry daily leaving the morning and afternoon commute sailings full almost every time of the year. Bowen Island is also a popular day-trip destination from Vancouver, so on a nice day the ferry can be almost full for most of the day. The last few round trips of the day, however, are usually quite empty.

Access to the Horseshoe Bay terminal is very easy. Highway 1 (Trans Canada) goes directly into the terminal, which is one of BC Ferries major ports. Lining up at Snug Cove is a little more complicated. Traffic backs up the village's main street, and if it's a full load the traffic line can back right out of town. If you're stuck in a sailing-wait, the village of Snug Cove and it's nearby parks are pleasant places to spend a few hours.


In 1920, the Union Steamship Company purchased a resort property in Snug Cove and began regular service between Vancouver and Bowen Island. Service between Horseshoe Bay and Snug Cove began in 1921 with the Sannie Transportation Company, which operated passenger ferries between the two harbours for 35 years. In the mid 1950's, the Black Ball Line began operating a car ferry on the route. In 1961, Black Ball's operations were taken over by BC Ferries, which continues this service to the present.

About This Site - Contact: John Hammersmark

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