I was lucky enough to be able to visit a friend who has a home on Salt Spring Island, one of the Southern Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the Vancouver mainland.
The Southern Gulf Islands enjoy a cool Mediterranean-like climate that results in mild winters with an abundance of rain and warm summers with the most annual sunshine in British Columbia.
Salt Spring Island is the largest of the Gulf Islands and the most populous. It is home to many artists, artisans, boutiques, and farms. It is accessible by ferry and float plane via Harbour Air and Salt Spring Air.
Salt Spring Island Culture
Salt Spring has a very laid-back vibe and island life runs at a slower pace. Hitchhiking is a common and accepted mode of transportation.
Many places have roadside stands that operate on the honour system to sell handmade soaps, eggs, vegetables, or other small items. You place your money in a small lockbox and take your purchase with you.
Fairy doors appear here and there throughout the island. About a foot tall and set in the base of a tree, fairy doors are delightful spots where you can leave a note or a little gift for the fairies.
You can take a self-guided studio tour of the 30 plus home-based studios throughout the island. You can watch an artist at work, enjoy tastings, or try on some handmade jewellery.
Salt Spring Island Accommodation
B&B’s, guest houses, inns, small resorts, vacation rentals, and even farm stays abound on Salt Spring. Best to get a reservation early if you know you’re going to be there as the warmer months are very busy. Salt Spring Tourism has a comprehensive list. As for dining, I think you’ll find that almost anywhere you go to eat, you’ll have an enjoyable experience.
Salt Spring Island Outdoor Activities
There are many hiking trails on Salt Spring, from easy to difficult. You can roam the rocks at Ruckle Provincial Park, rent a kayak and go out on the water, or ride your bike along the winding roads through the forest.
If you are on Salt Spring Island on a Saturday, make a point of visiting the Saturday Market in Ganges, the largest town on the island.
Salt Spring Island Indoor Activities
Salt Spring is an up and comer in the alcohol business. Three wineries, a craft distillery, a brewery, and a cidery have homes there. Salt Spring Vineyards and Tasting Room, Garry Oaks Winery, and Mistaken Identity Vineyards are obviously the wineries. Salt Spring Wild Cider House brings a taste of the 450 varieties of apples that grow on the island and the recent Salt Spring Shine distils Vodka, Gin, and two types of Moonshine. Salt Spring Island Ales are small batched and made entirely by hand. Check tasting room hours ahead of time for all of these places.
The Salt Spring Island Cheese Company have their pasteurized goat and sheep cheeses available throughout much of Canada. They are delicious on their own or paired with one of the libations above.
If you have the chance to visit Salt Spring Island, take it. You won’t be disappointed by the people, food, art, or nature. Kick back and enjoy a glass of local wine while admiring the sunset.