Saltspring Island


Salt Spring Island, at 193.5 sq km, is the largest of the Gulf Islands. The Island divides naturally into a north and a south Island, each with a different topography. It really does take two days to drive around the Island, and to see it "fully".

The Island seems to break out into three and a half "areas" -- different forest (some is typical Pacific Northwest Coastal forest -- cedar, fir, alder, maple, hemlock -- and some is the Arbutus (Madrona) & Garry Oak groves, with rocky knolls, bleached grasses, natural meadow areas. It's all a part of the microclimate, however, and it's all beautiful!).

The Island's population has grown to 13,000 plus (compared to 2000 in 1961). The rural, yesteryear feel of the Island has not been spoiled, because of the form of government in this unincorporated area. The Islands Trust came into being in the mid-1970s, and is a Provincial Government mandate of "to preserve & protect". All zonings/densities were created in the mid-70s, then, and so each Gulf Island, including Salt Spring Island is capped re growth. There is a core of bylaws, governing each Gulf Island, with specific bylaws, reflecting each individual Island, on top of same. For Salt Spring, ask at the Trust office for the bylaws of the Salt Spring Island Community Plan, plus the Development Permit Area regulations.

Salt Spring Island was always designated, by the Trust, as the Island to have the amenities (banks, services, hospital, etc., and all three ferries that service the Island also "sleep" on the Island -- the schedules begin and end, then, on Salt Spring Island. Salt Spring offers a year round lifestyle option, then, although it is very easy to commute to Vancouver Island communities (Victoria, Duncan, Nanaimo, etc.).

Salt Spring Island was first named Admiral Island (circa 1858) by Captain Richards, after his superior officer Rear Admiral Baynes. The local residents of the time insisted on calling it Salt Spring, because of the 14 or 15 natural saline springs that occur on the island. Eventually, the mapmakers renamed it officially. Ganges Harbour was once known as Admiralty Bay!

Salt Spring was originally a hunting territory for the Cowichan and Saanich Indians. Part of the Coast Salish Indians, they spoke Halkomelem, and Lekungenung. The first non-native settlers were former black slaves from the United States, and arrived around 1857.

Salt Spring Island is the only Gulf Island with more then one ferry port. Ferries from Tsawwassen arrive at Long Harbour. Ferries from Swartz Bay arrive at Fulford Harbour.

 Salt Spring Island also enjoys a unique third ferry route from Vesuvuis on Salt Spring to the town of Crofton on Vancouver Island. Crofton is near the town of Chemanius, and about 45 minutes south of the City of Nanaimo. Many people live on Salt Spring and make an easy commute to businesses, jobs, colleges in Victoria, Duncan, and in Nanaimo. It's also very easy to do a day trip to Vancouver.

Three regularly scheduled float plane companies also service Salt Spring Island. Harbour Air flies from downtown Vancouver to Ganges Harbour, and also from the "south terminal" of the Vancouver International Airport to Ganges Harbour. Seair offers regularly scheduled flights from the Airport to Ganges Harbour. Salt Spring Air also flies to downtown Vancouver, and also to the Vancouver airport. Easy to commute!

Salt Spring is one of the islands to enjoy cable TV service in selected areas. With satellite connections (Star Choice & Bell Express-Vu), it's possible to be on the entire "grid". Telus, the local telephone service provider, has an ADSL option on some parts of the island, and, depending upon where one lives on the Island, wireless options are available, also, re fast internet connections.

Community water systems service some parts of the island, (either from Maxwell Lake, St. Mary Lake, Cusheon Lake, or Weston Lake). Many properties are on wells, either drilled or dug. Salt Spring is one of the best Islands in the Southern Gulf Island chain for availability of good water.

Most properties are on septic systems, although the Town of Ganges, one phase of Channel Ridge, and Maliview are on community sewer systems.

A strong artistic base to the community (they built the Arts Centre (ArtSpring) first, and are now in the process of building the sports centre) ensures that Salt Spring Island remains both a beautiful place to live, and also a very interesting choice for a year round or a seasonal residence.

Salt Spring has its own flag (a red maple leaf on a central white background, with a blue stripe on one side and a green stripe on the other). Salt Spring also has its own currency, which is supported by Canadian dollars, in the vault of the local Island Savings Credit Union, and which is accepted as legal tender at restaurants, galleries, etc., on Salt Spring Island. Designed by local artists, these monetary units are beautiful, as well as being an Island currency!

More information on this gem of an Island? "See Li for Successful Solutions!" Ask for Li by name, and benefit from Li's knowledge and caring attitude!     Find Li at RE/MAX Salt Spring!