Sunday, October 13, 2002

In another vein, the history of a writer's colony called "Lieben" that thrived in the middle of the last century here on Bowen is being assembled and disseminated far and wide. Recently, the Toronto Star published an article about the retreat saying:

Einar Neilson, the son of a Norwegian sea captain, whose working life had included driving a tour bus in Banff and selling carpets, purchased 10 "unimproved" acres on Bowen Island.

Although not an artist himself, the tall and handsome Neilson had experienced his own epiphany in the beauteous landscape. Using his savings, his own considerable building skills and the salary from his new job driving a taxi on Bowen, he rebuilt one of two derelict cottages on his land, inspired by the open-concept designs of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Overlooking the Strait of Georgia, the much-improved house became a magnet for the artists and writers he'd met through his wife, Patricia, daughter of painter Lemoine Fitzgerald, who was principal of the Winnipeg Art School.

The Lieben guest book reads like a Who's Who of Canadiana: Earle Birney, Alice Munro, Dorothy Livesay, Margaret Laurence, A.J.M. Smith, Jack Shadbolt, Eric Nicol.

The whole article is a very beautiful and moving description of life on this little rock.

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