The southern Gulf Islands archipelago, of which Salt Spring Island is the largest island, dots the waters of the Straight of Georgia extending south from Gabriola Island across the U.S. border, where it is known as the San Juan Islands. On the Canadian side it comprises eight major and wonderfully unique islands: Gabriola, Valdes, Galiano, Thesis, Saltspring, Pender, Mayne and Saturna. Idyllic in landscape, rustic in character, the Southern Gulf Islands bask in balmy climate, pastoral tranquility, healthy lifestyle and some of the best protected and most beautiful boating waters in the world!
Salt Spring Island – The Star of the Gulf Islands
Size: 185 sq. km (72 sq. miles) * Population: approx. 12,000.
Climate: Precipitation 36 inches with 2000+ sunshine hours annually (comparable to Vernon in the Interior). Winter is the rainy season, seldom below freezing, summers are usually dry and very pleasant. In a normal year, the flowering trees are in full bloom in the first week of March, sometimes in February.
Flora and Fauna: Wide variety including the sun loving evergreen Arbutus (Madrona), Garry Oak, Douglas Fir, Cedar and othe indigenous species, Kiwi, grapes and fig trees in cultivated gardens, deer, eagles, herons, marine mammals, California quail and many other mild climate loving wildlife. No bears, coyotes or wolves.
Ferry landings: Fulford Harbour (to and from Victoria), Long Harbour (to and fromVancouver) & Vesuvius (to and from Crofton).
Amenities: Hospital, schools (3 Elementary, Middle and High School), RCMP, ambulance, bus service, 5 community halls, 3 gas stations, 2 banks & a Credit Union, churches, taxi, water taxi, 2 major grocery stores, scheduled airlines, post offices, couriers, government agent, 2 building supply stores, marinas, retails stores, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops, 2 golf courses, dive shop, kayaking outfit, horse riding, campgrounds, many parks, lakes, beaches, trails and much, much more
Ganges is a lovely seaside town where most of the shops and amenities are. Enjoy the local markets and village shopping, art exhibitions, the studio tour, theatre or a concert, relax to the soothing sound of gentle waves against the shore, have a round of golf, swim in the ocean or fresh water lakes, cycle along pastoral country lanes or hike through the quiet woods.
Pender Island – 37 sq. km (14 sq. miles), pop. 2,000, North and South Penders, connected by a bridge.
Galiano Island – 57 sq. km (22 sq. miles), pop. 997, north of Active Pass
Mayne Island – 23 sq. km (9 sq. miles), pop. 835, south of Active Pass
Saturna Island – 31 sq. km (12 sq. miles), pop. 290, the most southerly
Gabriola Island – population 4,200
Amongst and around these major Islands there are literally hundreds of smaller islands, islets, bays, coves and beaches, many of which are provincial parks, open to the enjoyment of everyone.
The pleasant climate, wildlife, miles and miles of shoreline, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, quiet forests and greenery year round are just some of the features attracting people to this region from all around the world.
Early history: Salt Spring Island was and still is Coast Salish territory. A small 43 acre reserve on the eastern side of Fulford Harbour was established in 1877 and still provides breath taking un-populated vistas of the Southern Gulf Islands today. Many of the first settlers that came to the island in 1858 were African Americans fleeing from racism in California to a place where they had the same rights as everyone else. Other early settlers such as Hawaiians that were hired to work in the whaling industry and in fur trade posts in North Western BC, settled on Salt Spring once their contract ended. Japanese labourers settled on Salt Spring beginning in 1890. Read more …..