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Welcome to Discovering Kwilákm
For thousands of years, the Squamish people harvested shellfish in the estuary where Terminal Creek, Nex̱wlélex̱wm / Bowen Island’s largest stream, drains into the sea. They called this place Kwilákm: Clam Bay.
In 1860, the Royal Navy named the chief geographical features of Bowen Island, including the bay called Deep Cove (now Deep Bay)—named to highlight the bay’s value as a protected anchorage, sheltered from winter gales. During the Resort Era, Kwilákm was called Hotel Bay. In the 1970s, settlers renamed it to honour early
pioneer Joseph Mannion.
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
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?
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.
Discover how climate change may impact Kwilákm.
The main source of water for Kwilákm.
A unique seaside, freshwater habitat.
The thriving ecosystem at the water’s edge.
The birthplace of many creatures.
Where teeming life hides unnoticed.
Meet the people behind this project.
Learn, Discover, Share.