Howe Sound Fact Sheet
- Spectacular Howe Sound in the Strait of Georgia is North America’s southernmost fjord. It is located between Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast and extends for 42km from West Vancouver northwards to Squamish.
- Within the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation
- The larger communities in Howe Sound include Bowen Island, Gibsons and Langdale on the Sechelt Peninsula, Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay on the eastern shoreline and Squamish located at the head of the Sound. Several smaller communities are dotted throughout the area including Britannia, Furry Creek, Brunswick Beach, McNab Creek, Douglas Bay, Brigade Bay, West Bay, Sea Ranch and New Brighton.
- Many islands and clusters of island are found within Howe Sound, the largest are Bowen Island and Gambier Island, while smaller islands include Keats, Bowyer, Anvil and Passage islands.
- Howe Sound is Vancouver’s backyard playground for sailing, diving, camping, hiking, fishing and a myriad of other recreational activities. These recreational pursuits support significant economic activity in Howe Sound and surrounding urban areas.
- Tourists from all over the world are attracted to the Vancouver region and the Sea to Sky corridor, in part as a result of the spectacular scenery of Howe Sound.
- Film and TV production crews regularly use Howe Sound for filming because of the availability of a “wild” location in such close proximity to Vancouver.
Howe Sound is a beautiful place, wild and remote and still just 30 minutes from Vancouver. It epitomizes Beautiful British Columbia.
Howe Sound Industrial History and Recent Recovery
- Howe Sound has a history of industrial mismanagement and abuse.
- The decommissioned copper mine at Britannia Beach, once the largest in the British Empire, discharged considerable toxic effluent including copper, cadmium, iron and zinc into Howe Sound between 1905 and 2001.The area around the mine was described as the “worst point source of mineral contamination in North America” and had a devastating effect on local fish populations. The environment is only now showing signs of recovery. The cost of the Britannia Beach cleanup has already reached $46 million and may well reach $200m, paid for by BC taxpayers.
- Other industrial users such as pulp mills spent millions of dollars over the last 20 years upgrading their environmental standards.
- The return on these extensive and costly remediation efforts has only recently become evident with the returning marine life.