Salt Spring

Salt Spring Island

The Community of Salt Spring is the largest of the British Columbia’s southern Gulf Islands with a population of about 10,000, from widely varied backgrounds that include experts & those that have chosen a laid back lifestyle, making Salt Spring an eclectic community known as “locals”.  Salt Spring is a popular tourist destination & a legislated nature protection area. With its agricultural roots, farm & food treasures are plentiful, often organic & widely acclaimed. This rural landscape with its fields & sheep is a very special place with enough infastructure & conveniences for modern living.

The Island is 74 square miles with 83 miles of Pacific Ocean shoreline, 400 miles of roads to explore, & numerous beaches, lakes & parks to relax. It is a paradox of how one of the “coolest” areas can boast one of Canada’s best climates with over 2000 hours of annual sunshine & some of the most moderate temperatures in North America. Garden year round – well usually.

The Town of Ganges is East & central to the Island with the villages of Vesuvius on the West & Fulford to the South. Southey Point is at the North End of the Island – go figure. Overlooking Ganges is the prominent harbour & home of the famous Saturday Market with local produce, home baked bread, cheese & other culinary delights The artists & artisans who display their arts & crafts are everywhere and along with great musicians has Ganges acclaim to being one of the best small art towns in North America.

Governance of Salt Spring is regulated under special legislation created for the Gulf Islands by the Province which recognized these Islands as unique & created the Islands Trust with the mandate to “preserve & protect” these lands for all of British Columbia to enjoy.

Parks & Recreation is very active with indoor swimming, tennis, golf, athletics, parks & hiking throughout the Island. Ruckle Park is a significant tourist destination as is the Gulf Islands National Marine Park Reserve. Other activities are available through the many clubs, groups & sports teams. Hiking, walking, kayaking, water sports, fishing, boating, horses, yoga, fitness, gardening & nature are all an important component of Salt Spring’s healthy lifestyle.

Fairs & Festivals range from the arts to the farm. The Fall Fair with its country charm, where Salt Spring shows its best prized jams & largest squash, is reminiscent of an era past. Watch the border collies herd sheep & your blood pressure drop. Then you are ready for the races – yes, Salt Spring has the Zucchini 500 – use your imagination. The fall Apple Festival is a must – sure the variety of apples & the history of Salt Spring apples are interesting but the farmers that grow them are members of the 100 year old Farmer’s Institute & more than just a collection of gumboots. The Apple Festival is a favourite of our out of town guests. As for the arts, just read the local Driftwood newspaper – there is always plenty going on.

Other Fun Times on Salt Spring include the Studio Tour – just leisurely drive from one studio to another to see working arts & crafts in the making – & buy directly. Other events & summer & holiday season markets are all a welcoming part of this relaxed rural life. The environment & gardening activities play a prominent role here too. Visit Mahon, Fulford & Beaver Point Halls for activities & fun that locals enjoy. Salt Spring has 3 wineries – take a tour & picnic on the grass.

Restaurants & Night Life of Salt Spring offer casual & fine dining restaurants & night spots, with talented chefs and local musicians of which the Island has many – well known names too. Hastings House is an award winning inn with a highly rated dining room & wine cellar. Sorry, there is no “fast food” here – but many good bakeries and cafes instead. Sushi too.

Art Spring is Salt Spring’s multi-purpose facility presenting theatre, music, dance, performing arts & a touch of everything in a nice intimate setting for community functions where the audience is often part of the show.

The Gum Boot Dance is known by locals but this is Salt Spring and everyone is welcome to join in these planned and spontaneous performances.

Services of Salt Spring include quaint shops, galleries galore & a good selection of grocers, pharmacies, banks & the other merchants & services that enable you to get most of everything & some items that you just do not get elsewhere like crab at the dock, Salt Spring Cheese at the farm, Tony’s tarts & home baked bread from Heather the bread lady. Chain stores are not a feature though. There is one jewel of a movie theatre that sort of keeps us up to date with Hollywood.

Medical Services include the Lady Minto Hospital & the British Columbia Ambulance Service along with medical, dental, & related health & community services.

Fire Protection of the Salt Spring Fire & Rescue provides a valuable service throughout the Island.

Schools on Salt Spring include elementary, mid & high schools along with pre-schools, day care & specialty education programs.

Roads on Salt Spring are many, both dirt & paved. The development of Narrows West is serviced from Ganges by one main road with 2 names & accessible via paved roads. A traffic jam is 2 cars stopped mid road while the drivers have a chat.

British Columbia Ferries offer regular Island vehicle & foot passenger service to/from Sidney/Victoria [35 minutes], Tsawwassen/Vancouver [1 hour & 30 minutes], & Crofton on Vancouver Island [20 minutes]. The picturesque ferry ride is delightful.

Float Planes offer regular Island service to the Vancouver airport & downtown, Victoria airport & Mill Bay on Vancouver Island, & all of about 20 to 30 minutes. Charter & other float plane flights are also available.
Schedules and routes change often.

Salt Spring Transportation is by local mini-bus that serves the community with scheduled routes to/from Ganges, ferry terminals, hospital, & other main arteries.

Salt Spring Links:

Maps:  http://www.saltspringisland.org/maps/where_is_salt_spring_island.htm

Hello BC [Search Salt Spring]:  http://www.hellobc.com/en-CA/CultureandHistory/Salt-Spring-Island.htm

Guide to Salt Spring:  http://www.saltspringisland.org/

Tourism:  http://www.saltspringtourism.com

Saturday Market: http://www.saltspringmarket.com/

Studio Tour: http://www.saltspringstudiotour.com/

Artcraft: http://www.ssartscouncil.com/artcraft.html

Art Spring:  http://artspring.ca/

British Columbia Ferries:  http://www.bcferries.com

Salt Spring Air:  http://www.saltspringair.com

Images of Salt Spring:
http://www.google.ca/search?q=salt+spring&hl=en&prmd=ivnscm&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=QZ-nTe6-HZL6swP28Nj5DA&ved=0CHQQsAQ&biw=1073&bih=413   
 

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