One of the many charms of Salt Spring Island is our network of local farm stands. Most are trust based stands openly offering their goods to visitors and locals alike. In a 'normal' year, these farm stands dot the island and are an experience that many visitors to the island often recount as part of their stories of time spent here. While many cater to visitors, some are also full-time, year-round farm stands for treats, veggies, meat and eggs that also have many of the staples needed for delicious, local meals.
This year, in response to the pandemic, farm stand operators banded together to organize a holiday tour to encourage locals to get out for a fun, pandemic friendly shopping experience. Numerous stand operators took the extra initiative to light up their stands offering even more moments of beauty and charm.
Our little family bubble hit the road today to visit some of the stands. We came home filled with treats and handfuls of gifts for friends and family. We also …
While many of the events our community has come to enjoy over the holidays have been postponed, or cancelled outright, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, at least one trusted source of cheer has now reliably lit up Ganges. Holiday lights, installed by the CRD PARC team now grace Centennial Park, along with lights installed by many local community minded businesses. Those of us that are venturing outside in the evenings these days can enjoy the lights and a little reminder of the holiday spirit that we might all yet again enjoy this season.
And you can always also enjoy the lights courtesy of our Ganges Fire Hall live cam as well.
The Salt Spring Transportation Commission continues to make progress extending the multi-use path along Lower Ganges Road. Once completed, this new section now open to the public will extend from Baker Road to Vesuvius Road completing the first phase of this particular section of pathway. Phase two of this latest round of trail work will, when complete, connect the section from Booth Canal Road to Baker Road. Once that section is complete, it will be possible, using a combination of pathways and sidewalks, to safely walk all the way from Ganges to Central on a separate, protected, pedestrian trail connecting into the sidewalks and bike paths of the soon to be complete North Ganges Transportation Plan Project.
Salt Spring Island is known in many parts of the world as a unique and progressive community. Its reputation for local farming, food, arts, music, culture, politics, EV transportation, and environmentalism belies its small size. And now once again, Salt Spring Island is at the fore of a growing movement. This time in the world of green, natural burials. (Watch the video tour and see the photo tour below.)
Over the last 50 years there has been an incredible transformation in burial practices in North America. Burial and cemetery services, which were at one time a more modest affair and often carried out by locally owned services providers, has been transformed under capital market consolidation.
While Indigenous cultures the world over have always practiced 'natural' burial, the dominant colonial culture of the West saw local funeral and burial business services transformed into highly specialized, profit driven industries controlled by a small handful of publicly traded c…
Over 70 local bike riders and cycling advocates gathered today for a social bike ride from Portlock Park to the United Church Meadow in Ganges in a show of support for safe cycling and to challenge local governments to support investments in local cycling infrastructure.
Organized by Salt Spring Solutions as part of the GoByBike Week events being hosted around the province, the gathering was also an opportunity to rally support for investments in the completion of the Salish Sea Trail across Salt Spring Island. Local advocates are working to motivate Salt Spring's unusual, and for the purposes of these kinds of initiatives, not particular well structured government organizations, to take charge of implementing the long-held vision of improving Fulford-Ganges Road from the Fulford Ferry through to the Vesuvius Ferry to not only improve conditions for drivers, but to extend the width of the road shoulders to offer safe spaces for bikes to transit onto and across the island as …
After 30 years of keeping boats safe and secure, the old Salt Spring Marina on Salt Spring Island was showing its age. In October of 2018, Island Marine Construction began demolition of the cherished marina. It was with a mix of emotion that the team who manages the marina watched the docks, pilings and the memories taken apart in Ganges Harbour.
With a few issues and delays along the way, the harbour dredging was completed and Island Marine began construction. Along with the new ramp, pilings, docks and break water, the refurbished marina now includes new a Wi-Fi system for guests, online booking form and new surveillance security tools. The new marina is engineered to withstand immense wind conditions and waves, while also being eco-certified by Clean Marine BC. Sea-Flex anchors, cleated fingers and double pilings are designed to help ensure guests sleep safe & sound in their berths.
While the reopening of the marina was delayed, and continues to be impacted by the COVI…
Local organizers with RAVEN Trust, an organization that leads Indigenous legal defence campaigns, raised over $5500 during Salt Spring Island's very first COVID-19 appropriate floating concert. The idea was dreamt up by local organizer extraordinaire, Andrea Palframan, who is the Director of Engagement and Communication with the Victoria based non-profit.
The 'Throw a Boat Down - Concert Afloat with Luke Wallace' invited community members to participate in a truly unique Salt Spring Island fundraising experience that would also ensure physical distancing protocols could be observed. Over 40 different watercraft, canoes, paddle boards, kayaks, and small boats, with more than 80 people in them, floated together while listening to activist/musician Luke Wallace sing in support of RAVEN Trust's work. Another 50+ people also watched from along the shore.
Luke Wallace played a number of his songs that included appeals for respect and preservation of the natural world and Indige…
Well, it's probably a surprise to no one, that the most heavily travelled, and you could also say one of the most poorly built main roads of any community in the Southern Vancouver Island/Gulf Islands area is... Fulford-Ganges Road.
This one road on Salt Spring has racked up the most number of car related accidents causing injury, fatalities and/or property damage.
The recently released data from ICBC compiling all available self reported accident data from 2015-2019 shows that the main road of our island is in need of significant safety improvement, especially as it relates to cycling related accidents.
Other hot spots and the worst area in town for accidents include the crosswalk intersection at Lower Ganges Road and Rainbow Road. An area now under construction that will improve sidewalks, the crosswalk and lighting in the area.
Other areas in the North End that have chronic crash related challenges are the intersection at Central, which still records fair…
We're fortunate to live in a community that has an outstanding local hospital, but when one of us is hurt and we need specialized medical attention at one of the larger hospitals in Vancouver or Vancouver Island, and we need it fast, this is how it happens. Watch the video below.
BC Ambulance can transfer patients by ferry, but when the circumstances are critical and time-sensitive, in most cases here on Salt Spring Island, that transport is by helicopter.
Since 1998, Helijet has been contracted to provide helicopter transport for the British Columbia Emergency Health Services’ (BCEHS) Air Ambulance using air medical equipped Sikorsky S76 helicopters.
From their bases at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, BC, Prince Rupert, BC and Kamloops, BC, a dedicated team of pilots and engineers are on call to aid the need of the ambulance services for patients.
The twin-engine helicopters and their dedicated crews are on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
Over 250 Salt Spring Island community members gathered this afternoon in a call to action confronting racism in our community and within each of us individually.
BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) Community Collective Organizers shared stories of violence and discrimination experienced both personally, across the United States and here in Canada asking that we all actively stand with BIPOC people to create a more equitable and just society.
In a gathering that was graceful, fierce, somber and celebratory, organizers called for education, awareness and actions of support in honour of the countless Black, Indigenous and People of Colour who have been murdered, killed or harmed in racially motivated acts of violence. Speakers called for community members to take responsibility for BIPOC equality and to be active participants in anti-racism action.
The event was an opportunity to come together to show support and love for fellow BIPOC community on these Coast S…
Salt Spring Island has seen many 'unusual' events over the last number of years. These 'unusual', or lets call them unexpected events, mostly took the form of some of kind weather related event that turned the island upside down.
I've taken 1000s of photos of these 'events'. The snow storms, the wind storms, but also the cultural events. The human-made events. The Pride Parades, the Grace Islet protests, and more. The kind of big events that make for interesting stories. Stories that might be worth capturing and recording for the future. Stories that seemed compelling because of all the action.
One thing I would never have imagined was photographing a series on Salt Spring where the focus would be something so big, it would be about the opposite of action. It would be about nothingness. An unexpected nada. An event so transformational, so unexpected, that its outcome was unprecedented in most of our lifetimes.
In this case, these photos are transformed by the absence o…
Salt Spring Island kids and families had a new way to celebrate New Years this year. A free event generously hosted by Windsor Plywood and the Salt Spring Lions welcomed all in the community to enjoy the new nature based playground. While the playground won't be completed and officially opened until this spring, there was still much to enjoy this evening for the kids who ventured out in the early evening rain. Many enjoyed the free hot dogs and hot chocolate offered by the Lions and Windsor while also enjoying a wonderful fireworks display out in the harbour to celebrate the park and the new year.
The new Centennial Park Playground is now open. Additional elements including the iconic rocking horse, benches, water fountain, and landscaping will be completed in the spring of 2020. The berm, slide and wooden stepping stones are closed for now to allow settling.
Park Master Planning Community Engagement
After Partial Completion - Final Completion in Spring 2020
Salt Spring community members gathered last night at the Harbour House hotel to celebrate business and community award nominees and award winners. The awards and dinner were organized by the Salt Spring Chamber board and staff members to celebrate the best parts of our Salt Spring community and the entrepreneurial spirit of the island. Twenty-nine awards were given out across two business and community award categories.
Thank you for voting the Salt Spring Exchange your favourite Local Media Choice again this year. We're grateful for all our supporters and advertisers who help make the service of the Exchange possible. We'd like to thank all the other local media organizations on the island, The Gulf Islands Driftwood, The Fish Bowl and the Islands Marketplace who all work tirelessly to help share the news and events of our very special island community. We all benefit from their work engaging people on and off island in stories about our island.
Our Local Media Choice aw…
In their inaugural meeting this past month, the men who gathered raised $10,500 for the Greenwoods Eldercare Society with funds earmarked for a family communications room where residents can connect with families via video conference. Over eighty men of the 105 members gathered at their first meeting at the Harbour House Hotel to select a local charity to support. The randomly selected nominations were from Greenwoods Elder Care, The Salt Spring Island Rowing Club, and the Salt Spring Island Soccer Association. In a close vote, Greenwoods Elder Care gained the most votes.
100 Men Who Care have now shared those funds with Aletha Humphreys, Executive Director at Greenwoods who accepted the cheque for $10,300 on behalf of the board, staff, and residents of Greenwood’s Elder Care. The money was raised by the newly formed 100 Men Who Care, Salt Spring Island, and will go to refurbishment of the activity room.
100 Men Who Care Salt Spring Island are a group of men who care about their community and want to make an immediate and direct impact with their giving.
Three times a year, they meet for one hour to learn about the great work being done by three local registered charities based on the island. By secret ballot, they vote for one of the three member-nominated charities, and the one with the most votes gets a $100 donation from each member.
In their inaugural meeting this evening, the men who gathered raised $10,500 for the Greenwoods Eldercare Society with funds earmarked for a family communications room where residents can connect with families via video conference. Over eighty men of the 105 members gathered tonight at the Harbour House Hotel to select a local charity to support. The randomly selected nominations were from Greenwoods Elder Care, The Salt Spring Island Rowing Club, and the Salt Spring Island Soccer Association. In a close vote, Greenwoods Elder Care gained…
Fernwood Elementary school participated in the 2019 Walk & Wheel to School Week today. The school and organizers were engaging students, teachers and parents in daily health and wellness activities that include walking and riding to school each day. Sean Mulligan, from Outspokin' Bike Shop, Elizabeth FitzZaland from GreenCity Builders and Bob MacKie from Transition Salt Spring, along with many other volunteers were on hand greet all students first thing in the morning. Students had the opportunity to enjoy snacks and treats prepared by the organizers and to sign up for discounted new helmet purchases. Organizers counted 65 bike riders and estimated there were about 40 walkers!
Walk and Wheel to School Week (October 7-11, 2019) is a fun and free week-long campaign that celebrates and encourages students and their families to choose active travel for all or part of their usual commute to school. The campaign includes events, travel tracking, resources and support for schoo…
Friends, neighbours and visitors, welcome to the 2019 edition of the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair, an island tradition since 1896, celebrating the Agricultural Community’s efforts and successes.
Our island has a rich and varied agricultural history and tradition that spans more than 150 years, since Confederation. The Salt Spring Island Farmers’ Institute, established in 1895, continues to support the growth of associated farming activities that are vital and valuable to the local economy. We are proud to be a strong and informed voice for farmers’ interests and we encourage islanders to get involved in the discussion on island farming matters. We all need to build up agriculture awareness and productivity on Salt Spring.
This year’s theme: Crops and Crafts of every Colour was chosen to create fun, a lot of fun and to bring to life in all manner of ingenuity. This rural tradition is brought to you by a dedicated core of volunteers. These individuals and community organiza…
Another beautiful celebration of Pride on Salt Spring Island today. Thousands of locals and visitors lined the street to celebrate the 15th annual Pride and the 12th celebration of the Pride Parade all through the streets of Ganges. Few communities the size of Salt Spring can boast of the energy and excitement and pride of Pride in their community quite like the locals of our island. What a beautiful day. Thank you to all the organizers and participants and all the organizations who took part in participating and celebrating. Pride festivities continue throughout the day, evening and this weekend.
Pride parades (also known as pride marches, pride events, and pride festivals) are outdoor events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride. The events also at times serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage. Most pride events occur annually, and many take place aroun…
In all the years I've lived on Salt Spring, few issues have held the attention of locals and visitors alike than firewood. Now, if you asked someone what the ongoing, burning issues of the day are on the island, firewood probably wouldn't come to mind first and though, think about this for just a minute. How many conversations have you had about firewood recently? Yesterday, for me, unprompted, the number was 6. Six times yesterday different people at different places, across different walks of island life talked to me about or wondered about firewood. At least 2 of those people don't even have woodstoves or heat with firewood. They just appeared all caught up in the wondering about it with most everyone else. "There are so many trees down! Look at all that firewood!"
The big burning question since the windstorm? Will firewood prices come down? I've had at least a couple of dozen people since the storm wonder about the possibility of this. And for good reason. Good quality, …