Salt Spring is the largest and most populous of the southern
Gulf Islands, with approximately 10,000 residents. The Island
enjoys one of the mildest climates in Canada and has half
the rainfall of nearby Vancouver. During the winter, it usually
snows once or twice, but the snow doesn’t last long.
The summers are hot and dry.
Salt Spring Island has long been known as a very special
place. The mild climate, sunny days, relaxing scenery, and
close proximity to major centers on Vancouver Island and the
mainland of BC have made Salt Spring a favorite with writers,
artists, and those looking for a less hectic lifestyle
Salt Spring has a very interesting history. (Check out the
Salt Spring Island Archives website.) The Island was a favoured
spot of the Cowichan and Saanich First Nations people. When
the Island was opened to other settlement, agriculture was
the economic mainstay, and the island became known for its
very fertile soil and beneficial climate. Many orchards were
planted by the early settlers and some of those trees survive
to this day. Salt Spring Island butter was famous and was
specifically requested when British Royalty came to Victoria.
Today tourism is the driver of the economy. Golf, sailing,
hiking, kayaking, and many other leisure time pursuits are
found in abundance. Many artists, musicians, and craftspeople
have settled here and created a thriving arts community. And
agriculture is flourishing. A very vibrant small scale farming
communty produces a large volume of naturally grown vegetables
and meat. Flavourful Salt Spring Island lamb and excellent
artisan cheeses are served in the finest restaurants. New
orchards of heritage apples have been planted. The Seed Sanctuary
preserves heritage seeds for future generations. Heirloom
lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and many other vegetable varieties
are grown and offered for sale at the Saturday Market.
The Saturday Market is also a great place to view some of
the fine work being done
by those artists and artisans who have settled here. There
are enough galleries in Ganges to keep you busy all day and
the self-guided studio tour provides a way to explore the
Island and meet some of the local artists in their own settings.
The following links will help you explore the beauty and
diversity of Salt Spring Island and its people.