Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and/or in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments.
Mod ’n Lavender, Salt Spring Island n the ’60’s, by John Grain
I have seen a fair number of memoirs written by people who lived much of their life on Salt Spring. Sometimes these are experiences of first settlers, other times the stories are of wild and wacky adventures on this island. There are geographical descriptions and historic accounts.
John Grain’s new book focuses on the 1960’s as a period of change in the world and ties it to life on Salt Spring Island - a period of change from a rough, relatively unknown place to a popular tourist destination.
He starts out with personal narrative about how he and his family came to settle on Salt Spring. In the process he introduces us to colourful characters that don’t seem too different from the interesting and eclectic population of today.
John describes the start of Long Harbour Marina, the coming of the first regular ferries, even the arrival of electricity on our island. He accredits much of the development of the island to The Driftwood, describing how the newspaper played a vital role, taking over the part of early telephone operators and allowing islanders to get informed and to share opinions.
Did you know that Park Drive has its own ghost? That US comedian Bob Hope visited here?
Did you know that Salt Spring’s name used to Admiralty Island and that The Queen of Victoria was once sliced almost in half by a Soviet freighter?
Some things haven’t changed since the ’60’s (“the village of Ganges became a ghost town after six ‘o clock”) and other things have changed beyond recognition (the current Visitors Centre used to be The White Elephant Cafe and was the edge of the harbour before the inner harbour was filled in to create the current parking lot).
Mod ’n Lavender is available at local bookstores, at The Driftwood and the Historical Society or directly from the author: saltspringislandbook.ca
There will be a local launch for this new book about Salt Spring Island, on Saturday September 24 at 2 pm at the SSI Library with John Grain in attendance.
About Margriet Ruurs
Margriet Ruurs is the author of over 30 books. Her upcoming next title is Stepping Stones, the story of a refugee family’s journey, a book that will benefit refugees. She runs Between The Covers Booklovers’ B & B on Salt Spring Island.