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Some time ago, a delightful history was written by Alan Jessup, the primary organizer of this neighbourhood. He explained that he and his wife Alice were West Vancouver residents when Alice began saying how much she’d like a little waterfront cottage with no telephone, no TV,.. nothing but natural sound. Alan thought this might be a passing fancy but it wasn’t. He confided this to his weekly lunch partner, Robert Malkin. Bob said he had a place on Bowen Island and he’d be happy to show Alan and Alice waterfront properties on the island. So, one sunny weekend, the Jessups sailed to Bowen and inspected a variety of possible sites before lunching at the A-frame that Bob and his wife, Rosemary, had built.
A couple of weeks later, Bob said to Alan “ How would you like to buy 100 acres and a half mile of waterfront?” Bob added that his brother, Joe Malkin, also liked the idea of being neighbours. The price? $150,000. The Jessups really didn’t need 100 acres to rattle around in but Bob suggested sharing the property with friends. That was a welcome suggestion but Alan was in no hurry. However, that winter, on holiday in Hawaii, Jessup got a letter from Bob that said that Don Cromie, of the Vancouver Sun, was planning a large sub-division at Tunstall Bay and would like to buy the Malkin 100 acres to add to his development. Alan thought it over and told Bob that he’d try to put a deal together. Some busy weeks followed in which various golfing, tennis and club pals and their wives were taken to inspect the 100 acres.
Before too long, Alan had 15 people putting up $10,000. each. The Founding Fifteen were: Alan and Alice Jessup, Clare and Doris Ross, Frank and Sheila Robertson, Earnest and Dooee Greene, Clarence and Mary McNeil, Ted and Ellen Bragg, Bert and Bradwin Wilson, Geoff and Pat Robins, Allan and Doris Stewart, George and Gladys Murdoch, Jock and Mollie Blacklock, Lyle Creelman, Glynwr and Amelia Jones, Leonard and Doris Frost and Archie Iverson.
So, the group began life together. Each lot had waterfront access but an ongoing source of household water was among the first of many challenges. Water rights were secured, a reservoir was built, a dam created, power lines followed. They dealt with surveying, formal registration with the Land Registry Office and all the things required by various agencies including a comprehensive road system. All were conquered and finally, the first house was built.
Over the years, the original group was replaced by new residents but friendships continued to be developed and social life flourished. Robbie Robertson’s Arbutus Point Polar Bear Swim became an island wide event that continues to this day.