Salt Spring Island — A Special Place
Home to beautiful scenery, funky stores and a thriving arts community, Salt Spring Island is a great place to visit. It is also an ideal spot to live.
With one of the best climates in Canada, it offers temperate and moderately dry weather. An eight month long growing season makes Salt Spring a gardener’s delight — daffodils bloom in February while much of Canada is still covered in snow. Known as the “banana belt” or the Canadian Hawaiian Islands, Salt Spring even features a few subtropical plants such as palms and banana trees.
The island is well-known for its varied and talented arts community which influences just about every walk of life. ArtSpring, the local arts centre, hosts a full range of theatrical and musical events throughout the year, as well as housing ongoing art exhibits.
During extended summer months, the historic Mahon Hall in Ganges features a large sampling of local artisan’s work in a show and sale called ArtCraft, while various other galleries and studios spot the island, welcoming people to exhibits and art demonstrations.
Throughout November and December, the island is awash in Christmas craft fairs, offering up unique gift ideas and lots of opportunities for islander-get-togethers.
During the spring and summer, local vendors spread out their wares in the Saturday market in Centennial Park. Here, islanders and visitors meet to enjoy a morning coffee and home-baked goodies, buy gourmet bread, goat’s cheese or flowers, and enjoy browsing the hand-crafted items offered up by island’s many creative people. Usually, a walk through the market occurs to a backdrop of music as buskers set up music stands and instruments or bands such as a brass ensemble or marimba group gather to play for the sheer joy of it.
Salt Spring Islanders also enjoy numerous island-wide events such as Canada Day celebrations, Hallowe’en parades and fireworks, home and garden tours, and festivals that honour everything from apples to garlic and lavender.
The largest and most popular event is the fall fair held the third weekend of September. This is the time when islanders, busy during the summer months, emerge from their homes and return from their vacations to enjoy livestock, art, cooking, and craft exhibits, horse riding competitions, a country-style midway, and booths full of tempting food — all to a backdrop of continuous music.
For those wanting to take a break from island activities, Salt Spring offers numerous hiking trails, kayaking, golf and tennis opportunities as well as an indoor pool facility.
Hidden away in Salt Spring’s 44,000 acres of rural countryside and small urban centres, are scenic mountainous vantage points, sandy beaches, enchanting forests with rare fauna and endangered Gary Oak trees, orchards, vineyards and fresh water lakes, popular for summer swimming.
Islanders live alongside an abundance of wildlife, including deer (frequently seen in backyards and gardens), raccoons, beavers, otter, and the occasional passing of orca whales.