70th Anniversary of inspiration for October Ferry to Gabriola

Ivan Bulic

Gabriola Museum

Tuesday, September 27 2016

In 1946, British novelist Malcolm Lowry, soon to be famous with publication of Under the Volcano (considered one of the great novels of the 20th century), was facing eviction from his squatter’s cabin on North Vancouver’s Dollarton Flats. Looking for a new home, Malcolm and his wife Margerie took the Atrevida ferry to Gabriola in October. 

Malcolm Lowry in 1946 on board ferry Atrevida to Gabriola. Gabriola Museum Archives

The Lowrys never did settle on Gabriola, although they did stay 3-4 days in the Anderson Lodge (now Surf Lodge). Malcolm’s notes from the Gabriola trip inspired his last novel, October Ferry to Gabriola, published posthumously in 1970It is the only major literary work to feature a Gulf Island. (For more information read “Malcolm Lowry on Gabriola” by Phyllis Reeve in SHALE 18, pp.3-6, April 2008, archived at the Gabriola Museum).

To mark the 70th anniversary of Lowry’s trip to Gabriola, the Gabriola Museum and the Friends of the Library have teamed up with the Gabriola Library, the Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee and the Gabriola Arts Council to sponsor a week-long series of events that include a presentation by Malcolm Lowry scholar Sherrill Grace (Oct.1) and performances of  Charlotte Cameron’s play October ferries to Gabriola with Drew Staniland and the Twilight Radio Theatre (Oct.2,3). On Oct 04, Drew Staniland will host a screening of the award winning documentary Volcano- An inquiry into the life and death of Malcolm Lowry.  

Finally, on Oct. 6, an historic plaque commemorating Lowry’s iconic ferry ride will be unveiled at the Nanaimo terminal of the Gabriola ferry and later that afternoon the Friends of the Library’s Wendy Strachan will host a screening of Under the Volcano, a feature film starring Albert Finney.

For more information and full details of all Malcolm Lowry events go to: gabriolamuseum.org or artsgabriola.ca, and see the Sounder ad this issue. (page 5)