The Old Dorm in island History
Purpose built in 1941 to provide thirteen rooms for staff residences for the Union SteamShip Company Resort, today The Dorm remains as one of a handful of buildings from the era. Purchased 25 years ago, and extensively renovated, thanks to Dan's "hands-on" attention to detail, The Lodge at the Old Dorm delivers that old world feel with present day charm.
Each of The Dorm's seven rooms have been named after a vessel in The Union SteamShip Company's (USSC) excursion fleet. The oldest ship, The Bowena, purchased in 1912 was taken over by the USSC from the Terminal Steam Navigation Company. The Lady Evelyn saw many years of service on the St. Lawerence before joining the USSC fleet in 1923.
The Old Dorm's premier room, The Lady Alexandra, named after the USSC's flagship arrived on the island on June 21, 1924. She was loved for her popular Wednesday and Saturday moonlight cruises giving passengers the chance to waltz and fox-trot their way across the Howe Sound. Launched in 1902 as Vancouver's "most modern" excursion boat, The Alex continued her ferrying until the Union's excursion business folded around 1952. She continued to do service as a restaurant in Vancouver's harbour until she was bought by Americans and towed to California.
The Britannia was the company's first large ship, and could accommodate 300 passengers in plush luxury with maroon upholstered seating in both men's and women's salon, a dining room aft and a promenade deck above. The Lady Cynthia and Lady Cecilia, each with a capacity of 900 were converted minesweepers added to the fleet in 1925 and the 100-foot Lady Rose, built in Glasgow was added in 1937. Reportedly, Bowen Island would host some 5,000 holidayers a weekend who came to camp, dance, picinic and have fun on The Happy Isle. . . .
taken from Irene Howard's "Bowen Island 1872-1972"
photos courtesy of The Bowen Island Museum and Archives.
"The facilities are ideal for creative thinking, quiet boardroom-style meetings at the Lodge, with the ability to enhance discussions during walks in the nearby woods.
Dr. Janis Sarra, Director,
Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
and Professor of Law,
University of British Columbia