Bowater House was officially opened in 1962, and was one of the first two residences to be opened at Memorial University (the other being Rothermere House). It was originally a female house, but within a few short years was transformed into a male residence. It kept its male status until 1990, when it was decided that it should become a female house again. In fact, it's rumoured that Bowater would have indeed been the first co-ed residence, except Student Housing wasn't quite prepared to make such a decision. (Co-ed residences didn't appear in Paton College until 1992.) However, due to such a large decline in female enrolment, Bowater found itself almost half-empty during 1992. It was then decided that Bowater would be Paton College's third co-ed residence, starting in the Fall 1993, only three years after the previous transition from male to female. To this day, Bowater is still a co-ed residence, an entity which is now in the majority in Paton College.
Bowater House is named after Sir Eric Vansitart Bowater, who was born on January 16, 1895, the son of Sir Frederick W. Bowater, K.B.E., and Dame Alice Bowater. Sir Eric entered the family business of M.V. Bowater and Sons in 1919. He eventually transformed the business from newsprint merchants to newsprint manufacturers. Bowater mills were established in Corner Brook, Newfoundland in 1938, in Tennessee in 1952, Carolina in 1954, and in Liverpool, Nova Scotia in 1956. Sir Eric Bowater led his families company to an overwhelming success. He also served Memorial University of Newfoundland as a member of the Board of Regents from 1952 - 1962, and is the holder of the University's LL.D. (honoris causa).