Discovering Kwilákm

Photo: Will Husby

Place Names

To the best of our knowledge, the Squamish word Kwilákm is the correct name for what we also call Deep Bay and Mannion Bay. Currently, we are pursuing clarification on the name from the Squamish Nation

Old close up map of Bowen Island.
The Sko-Mish-Oath map of Squamish villages and landmarks in Burrard Inlet and Howe Sound. Photo: City of Vancouver Archives.
Old map featured Bowen Island.
An enlarged section of the Sko-Mish-Oath map featuring Bowen Island

The Sko-Mish-Oath map published in 1937 by J.S. Matthews and based on conversations with Chief Khahtsahlano, shows the name “Qwel-huom” for Deep Bay, a name phonetically similar to Kwilákm.

Why is Kwilákm important?

Male and female mergansers in the water
Male and female common merganser, Kwilákm / Mannion Bay.Photo: Judith McBride

Kwilákm is both a centre of human history on Bowen and highly valued by many wild species: fish (particularly juvenile salmon, herring, and anchovy), eelgrass (a nursery for so many species), migrating shorebirds, and water birds like these courting mergansers.

What makes Kwilákm so rich? It’s an estuary—Bowen Island’s largest—a place where stream waters mix with ocean. Stream sediments deposit to form productive tidal flats, and organic debris and nutrients carried by the stream feed life in the ocean.

For a sampling of the many habitats and creatures of the estuary of Kwilákm (DeepBay / Mannion Bay), follow Bob Turner as he explores its waters of from the freshwater of Terminal Creek, downstream to the brackish waters of The Lagoon, and into the sheltered saltwater of Kwilákm.

Click on the tiles below to begin your own exploration of Kwilákm.

Changing Climate

Discover how climate change may impact Kwilákm.

Terminal Creek

The main source of water for Kwilákm.

The Lagoon

A unique seaside, freshwater habitat.


The thriving ecosystem at the water’s edge.


The birthplace of many creatures.

Deeper Waters

Where teeming life hides unnoticed.

About Us

Meet the people behind this project.

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