Howe Sound is a unique ecosystem within the Pacific Northwest. It is a deep water fjord situated in a sheltered inlet with access to the Pacific Ocean but protected from the open waters by the natural barrier that Vancouver Island provides. The Sound is surrounded by a fantastic remote wilderness area with all the wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities that brings, all within an hour of downtown Vancouver. It is the gateway for the Sea to Sky highway leading to Squamish, Whistler and the Pemberton Valley.
“If Howe Sound were in any other part of the world, it would be a great national park.” Dr. Murray Newman, Past Director, Vancouver Aquarium.
Howe Sound, in the 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. Howe Sound is the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation.
Howe Sound includes a number of sheltered islands from the Passage Islands, Keats and Bowyer Islands, the ever-popular Bowen, the largest Gambier and the relatively remote Anvil. All these islands are situated in the sheltered fjord within 45 minutes of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. From Horseshoe Bay, BC Ferries operates regular service for the residents of Bowen and traverses between Bowen and Gambier on the route connecting the Sunshine Coast (Gibsons, Sechelt) to the rest of the mainland. BC Ferries also operates (through a private contractor) a passenger-and-bike-only service connecting the Sunshine Coast with Keats Island and the western part of Gambier.