What Do Islanders Do in A Pandemic?

It’s no secret that we are living in strange times. Much of the economy has been stumbling because of the pandemic, and, sadly, many community members are either unemployed or working from home. What these people almost invariably have in common is more time to spend as they wish, often with their families. And what a great number of islanders are opting to do is to go for walks/hikes on Salt Spring’s wonderful trails. Most of us try to focus on the positive, and I think we would all agree that the most positive thing about living on Salt Spring is the natural beauty all around us. In the past few months we’re seeing more people on our trails than ever before. There isn’t a park or nature reserve on the island that isn’t being visited by all kinds of people eager to enjoy what nature has to offer. And on Salt Spring, nature has a lot to offer—lovely shoreline and beaches, varied forest, beautiful views, clean air, more birds than we’ve seen for years—and all of this can be e…
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Black Settlers: Their Influence on the Vision of Canada and Salt Spring Island

New online exhibit is a creation by the B.C. Black History Awareness Society with support from Digital Museums Canada. With more than 500 exhibits Digital Museums Canada (DMC) is the largest source of online content and experiences shared by large and small Canadian museums and heritage organizations. These online exhibits explore history, culture, science and the arts, and feature fascinating stories and treasures from communities across the country. The exhibit 'British Columbia’s Black Pioneers: Their Industry and Character influenced the Vision of Canada' features 20 stories, 9 videos, and 86 gallery items that include images, photographs, maps, and archival documents; all are bilingual. Their story is unlike any other story in Canada. As the Fraser Gold Rush was heightening, the British desperately needed settlers and they needed them quickly, settlers who could help to cement Victoria, the capital of the Colony of Vancouver Island, as a British administrative, bu…
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Listen: Salt Spring Island Aloha! The Hawai'i of Canada

This is a story about the Hawaiian Islands, but most of it takes place in Canada. I was born and raised in Hawai'i. Now I live in the Canadian Gulf Islands. These little islands lie off the mainland of British Columbia, just south of the 49th parallel, almost three thousand miles north and east of the Hawaiian Islands. Getting to the Gulf Islands requires perseverance, plus a ferry or maybe a floatplane. They’re prone to ocean fogs, they have epic tides, and the hills are forested with cedar and fir. The island I live on now is called Salt Spring. It’s a friendly place, full of artisans and farmers, snowbirds and digital nomads. As you drive from the ferry terminal to town, there’s a handmade sign at the side of the road that reads “You got this.” The flip side says, “We need each other.” Like many places in Canada, Salt Spring’s streets are named for early settlers. There’s Stark Road, Robinson Road, Roland Road. When I first moved here, people would tell me I had com…
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In the Works at Ruckle Heritage Farm

Finally, work in-progress since 2018 in the public area of Ruckle farm is starting to show -- modestly yet, but more and better is on its way. What’s up? Six new interpretive signs were unveiled in late September, in the kiosk opposite the barn, a Friends of Ruckle Park Heritage (FRPH) project, with thanks to funding from the Salt Spring Foundation and many historic images from the Archives, who hosted the launch. The sign information makes clear that Ruckle farm was a bustling hub for long decades, with 150 years to celebrate in the summer of 2022. Two other grant projects are also underway.. A Park Enhancement Fund grant ($900) + FRPH funds ($100) are paying for flower bulbs, flowering perennials, and related supplies, which dedicated volunteer gardeners are planting by the Henry Ruckle house -- the white one past the barn and oldest on the farm, built in the mid-1870. Lotus kept beautiful blooms around the place, until she and family moved in 1967 to Uncle Alfre…
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ASK Salt Spring Neighbours Helping Neighbours Find Answers

Fifteen attended this ASK Salt Spring gathering on a perfect summer Friday to welcome Darryl Martin and Elisa Rathje, hard-working authors of our soon-to-be-released Climate Action Plan 2.0. Darryl, the chair of this audacious effort, began by acknowledging the many others (about 25) who have spent countless hours writing this plan of the action needed on Salt Spring to mitigate and adapt to the devastating effects of climate change. This plan has already been reviewed by most organizations to get their feedback, so the focus of the conversation at this ASK Salt Spring gathering was not upon governmental responsibility but upon what we as individuals can do to address our climate challenges. In answer to the first question about indigenous involvement in the development of the plan, Darryl told us that, although no indigenous representatives had participated on the writing and research teams, all 13 First Nations with an interest in Salt Spring were provided a draft and i…
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SD64 Schools to Employ Learning Group Model for September Restart

Many of you will have seen the announcement from the province regarding school opening in September. In School District 64 (Gulf Islands) we are following the advice from Public Health to begin organizing our schools to follow a “learning group” model to promote the safety of our students and staff. This model organizes students into consistent groups that limit daily contacts (elementary/middle = 60; secondary = 120). Stage 2 of the provincial plan is built from an understanding of how schools and districts can best organize so that students receive the education they need while following the guidelines set out for British Columbians to ensure responsible and effective management of COVID-19. Some notable changes in the province from the schooling experience in June are: learning will return to the regular in-class model blending of remote and in-class options will be discontinued talking about learning groups rather than limits to density of class number…
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Accessible Art: Meet Rhiannon, Dawn, and Debbie

In 2020, with support from the Disability Alliance British Columbia's Accessibility Project, the Salt Spring Arts Council is delivering a year-long Accessible Art Therapy project to provide access to art therapy for members of our community with disabilities. Lead by Artist Stefanie Denz and supported by Talia Peckel, we are proud to work with local organizations G.I.F.T.S., Friends and Choices, and Meadowbrook. Beyond providing individual and group tailored creative explorations, the project also aims to bring visibility to local islanders with disabilities. Project participants' work is on display as part of 'creative expressions' until August 3, in the Mahon Hall Annex Gallery. Meet Rhiannon: Rhiannon is 26 years old and moved from New Brunswick to Salt Spring, where she finished high school. Her birthday is on January 7th. Her hobbies include designing clothes and sewing dresses for bears. Her favorite colours are purple, black and blue. Rhiannon lends time to hel…
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Saturday Market in Centennial Park Reopening with Limited Capacity

The Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) is reopening the Saturday Market in Centennial Park in Ganges with new protocols and a limited capacity for vendors and visitors. Since July 16, the CRD has allowed vendors to purchase park use permits to set up in Centennial Park ahead of a new Market Coordinator starting August 1. Last Saturday, July 25, 11 vendors were in attendance and a similar number the Saturday before that. Space allocated to individual vendors is currently limited to a maximum of 20 vendors. We will be increasing from the current 20 vendor cap as we continue to assess distancing requirements and other safety protocols. The number of available spaces will also depend on the sizes of the vendor booths that have booked. Some vendors have 4ft booths some have 10ft booths. Starting Saturday, August 8, the Market in Centennial Park will open from 9am-4pm in a limited capacity, operating with modified protocols to meet safety standards s…
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Local Resort Connected to Wellness Organization and Alleged Mainland Murder

Salt Spring Mineral Springs Resort is owned and operated by CreateAbundance International Institute Inc. / Golden Touch and has been the focus of recent media reports because of its alleged connection with Bo Fan, a Chinese citizen living in Surrey who was murdered in June, 2020. Create Abundance/Golden Touch was started in China and focuses on wellness or self-help through tapping energy in nature, according to videos and other information posted online, apparently by the group. It has been offering expensive classes and holding special events promoting its view on finding wealth and inner happiness to Chinese-speaking students in many places in the world, including in B.C. according to the Vancouver Sun. Mysterious activity near Salt Spring Mineral Springs Resort on Salt Spring Island has been recorded by local Joe Clemente as far back as 2018 when he captured video of military style training on North Beach Road that appears related to the resort. According to CTV an…
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Accessible Art: Meet Mahjor and Dominic

In 2020, with support from the Disability Alliance British Columbia's Accessibility Project, the Salt Spring Arts Council is delivering a year-long Accessible Art Therapy project to provide access to art therapy for members of our community with disabilities. Lead by Artist Stefanie Denz and supported by Talia Peckel, we are proud to work with local organizations G.I.F.T.S., Friends and Choices, and Meadowbrook. Beyond providing individual and group tailored creative explorations, the project also aims to bring visibility to local islanders with disabilities. Project participants' work is on display as part of 'creative expressions' until August 3, in the Mahon Hall Annex Gallery. Meet Mahjor: Mahjor is 54 years old and moved to Salt Spring in 1994. His family is from India, and that is where he was born, as well as where his name comes from. He goes to Victoria to visit his mom every two weeks, and they go to the Hindu Temple together. They often go to weddings at …
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Accessible Art: Meet Joanne and Jason

In 2020, with support from the Disability Alliance British Columbia's Accessibility Project, the Salt Spring Arts Council is delivering a year-long Accessible Art Therapy project to provide access to art therapy for members of our community with disabilities. Lead by Artist Stefanie Denz and supported by Talia Peckel, we are proud to work with local organizations G.I.F.T.S., Friends and Choices, and Meadowbrook. Beyond providing individual and group tailored creative explorations, the project also aims to bring visibility to local islanders with disabilities. Project participants' work is on display as part of 'creative expressions'  until August 3, in the Mahon Hall Annex Gallery. Meet Joanne. Joanne is 66 years young and has lived on Salt Spring for approximately 40 years. Joanne is an intelligent non-verbal communicator with plenty to express. She enjoys journaling, colouring, organizing her personal space, and taking care of her home. Jo especially loves babies an…
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Accessible Art: Meet Amy and Lucky

In 2020, with support from the Disability Alliance British Columbia's Accessibility Project, the Salt Spring Arts Council is delivering a year-long Accessible Art Therapy project to provide access to art therapy to members of our community with disabilities. Lead by Artist Stefanie Denz and supported by Talia Peckel, we are proud to work with local organizations G.I.F.T.S., Friends and Choices, as well as with Meadowbrook. Beyond individually and group tailored explorations utilizing the arts, the project also aims to bring visibility to Salt Spring people with disabilities. Project participants' work is on display as part of 'creative expressions'  until August 3, in the Mahon Hall Annex Gallery. Meet Lucky:

Lucky started painting after recovering from his 4th open heart surgery in November 2016. He chose to embrace his recovery by expressing his emotions through Abstract painting. He was encouraged by his support staff at…

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Accessible Art: Meet Pam and Steve

In 2020, with support from the Disability Alliance British Columbia's Accessibility Project, the Salt Spring Arts Council is delivering a year-long Accessible Art Therapy project to provide access to art therapy for members of our community with disabilities. Lead by Artist Stefanie Denz and supported by Talia Peckel, we are proud to work with local organizations G.I.F.T.S., Friends and Choices, and Meadowbrook. Beyond providing individual and group tailored creative explorations, the project also aims to bring visibility to local islanders with disabilities. Project participants' work is on display as part of 'creative expressions' until August 3, in the Mahon Hall Annex Gallery. Meet Pam: Pam is 39 years old and came to Salt Spring from North Vancouver. She loves going to the pool and participates in the Special Olympics swimming. She loves playing the shaker at music circle on Mondays, and Thursday karaoke at G.I.F.T.S., where she is known for her rendition of “Mah…
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Salt Spring Comes Together in Solidarity with Black, Indigenous and People of Colour

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…
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Islanders Working to Create a Community Space for Horse Activities

When I arrived on Salt Spring as a super awkward 12 year old I was homesick and lonely. Luckily, I had been promised more horse time and even my own horse one day to help sooth the sting of immigrating. I immediately began riding lessons with Jacky Cooper and joined the local Pony Club. At that time there was a booming community of “horsey” kids and we were a very active club. When we went to regional and provincial competitions, the SSI Pony Club was known for its outstanding horsemanship and we almost always won the horsemanship award! We were asked by other clubs how we managed to create such a cohesive and co-operative group and I believe our biggest asset was having a central barn where we all had our horses together. As a club we moved several times to different facilities until we most recently lost our beloved stables on St Mary’s lake, a blow we have not been able to recover from. Since the loss of our last home, the equine community has scattered and many have…
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The Pandemic Postcard Project - Salt Spring Edition - New Contributions Photo Gallery

The Pandemic Postcard Project, Salt Spring Edition, is a literacy and/or art-promoting project, started by Literacy Alberni, that fosters community connection and legacy-keeping through storytelling and sharing. There have been some remarkable contributions that have been submitted so far. See some of the contributions below. The project is ongoing and more contributions are welcomed. We’re inviting everyone in our community (as individuals or as families, partners, roommates, work teams, etc.) to share their stories, thoughts, struggles, successes, lessons learned, blessings given or received, and resolutions made during this moment in history… on postcards. Why? We’re connected primarily through technology these days through our own profiles and pages. The goal of this project is to celebrate that, while also creating a lasting, physical record of our resilience. Throughout the project, as submissions come in, we will share some of the Pandemic Postcards on the Sa…
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Country Grocer Community Kudos - This Week's Winner Is Charles Gosset

Each week Country Grocer will give a Community Kudos $50 Gift Card to a nominee submitted to the Salt Spring Exchange. Our first Kudos goes to Charles Gosset. Amidst  busy construction days in response to COVID prepping, Charlie donated his time to source free giant boulders, transport them and bring machines to construct a boulder meeting circle at Salt Spring Elementary in April. This stone circle is proving perfect for outdoor, social distance learning for students as they begin to return to school. For years, Charlie's Excavating employees have been super generous with time, materials, and machines to create outdoor learning spaces at Salt Spring Elementary. Congratulations Charlie! Next Thursday May 28th We’ll be announcing next week’s Community Kudos winner, please get your nominations in. If you’ve already sent in a nomination, it’s still in the running. Kudos to you! Together we’ll get through this.
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Gallery: Ramona Lam The Front Step Photography Project

Local photographer Ramona Lam shares her charming photo series with the community taken during her Salt Spring 'The Front Step Project. She joined several photographers across the country in the #TheFrontStepsProject, a project started by Needham, Massachusetts, photographer Cara Soulia. This is not a typical get-dressed-up-and-pose-for-the-photographer kind of session. Participants met outside, sometimes in their pyjamas and slippers with whatever they felt most comfortable from around their home. Some even included their pets and kids, all at an appropriately safe distance with their photographer. In exchange, the participants were asked to make a donation to the Salt Spring Island Food Bank, SPCA or any local small businesses who are struggling, and reference #TheFrontStepsProject. Ramona continues her series until the end of the month and will share additional photos with us as the series continues. Be in touch with her if you wish to participate in the project.…
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Salt Spring's Kyle Topping Signs Pro Hockey Deal

The San Jose Barracuda, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, and General Manager Joe Will announced that the club has signed forward Kyle Topping. Per club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed. "Kyle is playmaking two-way centerman with a high hockey IQ and we're excited for him to join the organization," said Will. In a shortened 2019-20 season, Topping, 20, finished with 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists), 14 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating in 33 games with the Kelowna Rockets. Over a four-year career in the WHL, all with Kelowna, Topping finished with 196 points (71 goals, 125 assists), 177 penalty minutes and plus-41 rating in 226 games. The six-foot, 191-pound, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, native attended the Sharks Development Camp in 2019.
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The Pandemic Postcard Project - Salt Spring Edition

The Pandemic Postcard Project, Salt Spring Edition, is a literacy and/or art-promoting project, started by Literacy Alberni, that fosters community connection and legacy-keeping through storytelling and sharing. We’re inviting everyone in our community (as individuals or as families, partners, roommates, work teams, etc.) to share their stories, thoughts, struggles, successes, lessons learned, blessings given or received, and resolutions made during this moment in history… on postcards. Why? We’re connected primarily through technology these days through our own profiles and pages. The goal of this project is to celebrate that, while also creating a lasting, physical record of our resilience. Throughout the project, as submissions come in, we will share some of the Pandemic Postcards on the Salt Spring Exchange and on social media. When this is over, we will curate the cards and make them public in a display at the Salt Spring Library. Then all local Pandemic Postcards…
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Salt Spring Celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the Salt Spring Library

Salt Spring Island Library celebrated 60 years in the community with a 60's themed gala last night with local community members. Staff, board members and CRD staff along with community supports gathered to enjoy music by Doug and the Thugs and to hear about the library history and in particular some of the history and stories of all the work that went into creating the library in its current form McPhillips Avenue. The new library has become a significant community hub as well as library resource space. The library is also home to the Salt Spring Archives. History of the Salt Spring Library In the early 1930s, an actress named Mrs. A. J. Smith opened a pay lending library upstairs in Mouat’s Store. This little library was open several days a week and provided its services at minimal cost. Later, a group of islanders organised a book-lending facility that circulated a collection of books among its members. One of the first books from this collection is in the Salt Spring A…
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