The Scrap on Salt Spring Metal Recycling

For the past 7 years I’ve had the opportunity to work and hone one of my skills on the island, as a support worker, specifically for GIFTS (the Gulf Island Families Together Society), working one to one with young adults who have special needs. One of GIFTS’ mandates, is to help young adults who have recently graduated from high school integrate into their community. One approach towards this goal, is to support these young adults in finding work. About 8 months ago, I started working with a young adult fresh out of high school and began the task of looking for suitable employment on the island. I knew of John Quesnel and the plight of his Salt Spring scrap Metal Recycling business (who doesn’t if you read the local paper), and thinking myself that recycling in any form is not only good business, but makes good sense, especially on an island, I decided to ask john if we might be able to volunteer some time at his facility, to gain some work…
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Sh*t Salt Springers Say

Shit Salt Springers Say is a funny parody video about Salt Spring Island and the many things some locals here are known to say and do as they go about living their lives here in this unique island community. The video was filmed at various locations around Salt Spring by Lemon Grease Productions and stars Thomas Messer, Rebecca Nygard, Michelle Duncan, Billie Woods and David Alex Event with guest appearances by Jada-lee Watson, Ross Duncan and Mike Nelson. Give it a watch. Do you say some of these things?
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Creating Change - Maggie Schubart

Maggie Schubart was an exceptional activist who made immeasurable contributions to our island and world. Maggie passed away in 2010, yet her legacy of community involvement and gentle leadership continues to inspire. In November 2006, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maggie in her home, in the aftermath of a major snow storm. Maggie had made a big pot of stew; we drank tea and chatted in her kitchen. Maggie and I had worked together on food security efforts and she had generously agreed to be part of my Master’s thesis research on learning in social movements. Maggie and her husband Hank, the esteemed architect, and their five boys moved to Salt Spring from California in 1968, during the Vietnam War. Her social change work had began years earlier when she helped establish Bay area KPFA radio station that became a force for change. In San Francisco, both she and Hank were active in the civil rights movement and anti Vietnam War efforts. Maggie said, “Yes, I was involv…
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Salt Spring Sketches: A Gypsy Creates Her Own Bliss by the Sea

She confesses to an addiction to adventure.  She acknowledges that she often doesn’t appreciate the consequences of her spontaneous decisions.  And she is currently off on another escapade—this time sailing via California to Mexico for six months. She’s leased her house for 18 months and has no idea where she’ll live when she gets back from Mexico.  But she’s confident that things will fall into place – “somehow, they always do.” Suzanne Ambers, counsellor, massage therapist, spa consultant, and self-described gypsy, is always up for something different, particularly if it involves travel to new places.  And the sea. “Every day unfolds differently,” she says. “”I’ve lived out of a suitcase all over the world. I raised two sons in a float home and I was plunked down by the universe on Salt Spring, somewhere I never imagined I would live.” Open to opportunity, some would say. But for Suzanne, it’s more like heeding your heart, or maybe listening to the psychic friend…
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Salt Spring 'Introvert' Island

Last week we ran a survey asking residents of Salt Spring if they considered themselves to be *mostly* introverted or extroverted. The results are bit a surprising. Our survey closed automatically when we hit 100 responses and of those 100 responses, 79 people identified themselves as *mostly* introverted. Speaking with a colleague via email about this who has a background in Jungian psychology, he shared that in general it is understood that about 40% of the population identify as introverts and that the dominant culture, at least in North America, is extrovertedly oriented. Is it possible that 79% of islanders are mostly introverted at double the average in North America? Is this just another thing that makes Salt Spring special? Should we have gone out and surveyed at a party where all the extroverts are? Should we become the destination for introverts everywhere, or do we need to import some more extroverts to balance this place out?
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Are you introverted or extroverted?

I'm conducting a highly un-scientific poll on a subject I've been curious about regarding the dominant nature of island residents. I've been wondering if those who are attracted to living on Salt Spring have a stronger tendency towards introversion or extroversion? In the way I understand this, I would think of introverted people as those who get their energy from spending time alone to recharge and restore themselves, while extroverts would get their energy and relax by being with others in more social settings. There is much more to these labels, but let's find out. What would you say is the dominant nature of Salt Springers?
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Salt Spring Sketches: Flight Of The False Creek Six

The Lagoons is one of the most attractive condo developments in Vancouver - a small number of beautiful suites on False Creek, clustered around a well designed water feature and looking out at downtown and the North Shore mountains beyond. The famous Vancouver seawall meanders by; full of walkers and joggers whatever the weather, and the amenities and excitement of Granville Island are but a stone’s throw away. Over the past few years, six residents of The Lagoons have found a yet more idyllic place to live – Salt Spring. Although they had struggled together through meetings of their strata board, and shared their preferences in good literature at the monthly book club, none knew of the others’ plans to relocate. Some never contemplated a move, and none imagined ever being neighbours again. Yet, somehow, they all found a way to the island, and to reconnect. One was returning to a place he’d lived before, two came for love, and the magic familiar to all islanders captu…
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Post Card To Follow: Terry Oliver's Mail Adventure In Paris

My elderly mother-in-law used to regard going to the local post office in the village where she lived, to buy a stamp, as her day’s outing. The rest of the family thought this was very amusing, including me. Yesterday, I finally bought a stamp. One full month after arriving in Paris, I’ve discovered where the local post office is. Until you find yourself in a place as appealing as Paris, you forget that people back home are not satisfied with an email. Something more is expected of you. Like a postcard at least. I stopped sending postcards years ago, along with Xmas cards. It’s a lost art – like letter writing, only more difficult. Many stages are involved. First, you must find a suitable card – the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe will not do – far too insulting. We had visited many museums and art galleries before choosing an acceptable card which reflected our friend’s artistic leanings and our own impeccable good taste. Often this involved nearly as much time in th…
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Salt Spring Sketches: It Was Always Their House Even When It Wasn’t

She was ready for one more adventure. He wasn’t so certain. They had, after all, lived comfortably in Calgary for 29 years.  Neither had any inclination to move.  Yet, one morning as she looked out her window at her flourishing and beautiful garden, Liesbeth Leatherbarrow had an epiphany. “I have always planned on living until 100,” she said. “I loved all that I saw that morning, but the thought of looking at and walking up the same path for the next 45 years struck me as limiting. Everything looked beautiful but I knew in that moment I was ready for one more adventure.” Her husband of 33 years found her epiphany intriguing but, being a cautious and deliberative man, Bob Leatherbarrow needed time to mull over the idea and do some research. “I was confident, but Bob had to think,” Liesbeth points out. “It sounded to him like a spontaneous, romantic idea. In 2007, Bob began checking out various locales—from Provence in France to Nova Scotia, Cowichan, Maple Bay—to …
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Salt Spring Sketches - It's Really About The Hair

Everyone we told said we were crazy. Giving up our fabulous condo in Yaletown, leaving the myriad of amenities offered by Canada’s greenest city, starting again on a tiny island whose population barely equaled that of one Vancouver neighbourhood. “Why?” they asked. “You are urbanites. You love vibrant, bustling downtowns.” And they were right, sort of. My husband and I had always lived in urban centres, some smaller than others, but always in the midst of the action. And we’d always loved the hustle bustle of cities.

I’d grown up in Toronto, received my journalism degree in the heart of the city before leaving for Calgary as a young reporter at the Calgary Herald. My career in journalism (teaching and writing) took me to other large cities: Edmonton (to write radio ad copy), Ottawa (to edit a church publication), back to Calgary (to teach journalism), Vancouver (as a journalism instructor), Wilmington, DE (as a communications executive) and a…

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