Watch: Some of Salt Spring Island's First Settlers Were Former Slaves

In this episode of BC Was Awesome host Bob Kronbauer travels to Salt Spring Island and visits with Naidine Sims, a descendent of some of the first African-Americans to settle in British Columbia after escaping slavery down south. Naidine tells the Starks' harrowing tale, reflecting on her family's past and offering hope for the future. https://youtu.be/FMoiEWQ929U BC Was Awesome is a multiple Leo Award-nominated series documenting the sometimes offbeat stories of the history of British Columbia. It's a co-production of Vancouver Is Awesome and Artaban Productions. Sylvia Stark was born into slavery in Clay County, Missouri, in about 1839. She was the youngest of three children of Hannah and Howard Estes. As was the custom for those who were slaves, Howard took the name of his owner, Tom Estes. He lived apart from his wife and children who resided with another family, the Leopolds. Howard Estes bought himself and his family out of slavery at a cost of over $4000, an …
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Artists from the Fringe: Lesley's Story

In this series, we share stories from Art Jam participants. Art Jam - a volunteer-run program of the Salt Spring Arts Council - provides a safe, welcoming space for members of our marginalized community, where they can be defined as creators and artists, rather than by the challenges they regularly face. By celebrating their unique creative accomplishments and reinforcing the value of their work through public exhibitions we promote positive self-identities and help build self-esteem. My name is Lesley and I’m over 50 years old. Right now I live in my parents’ home, an old pan abode, in the north end of the island. I had my own place at Murakami Gardens but moved out when I went to take care of my parents. My mom had lived with me for 5 months when I lived at Murakami Gardens, which was difficult because I only had a bachelor apartment. My mom went into extended care and then she died. My parents’ house is falling apart around me. My older sisters thought about selling the p…
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Artists from the Fringe: Nick's Story

In this series, we share stories from Art Jam participants. Art Jam - a volunteer-run program of the Salt Spring Arts Council - provides a safe, welcoming space for members of our marginalized community, where they can be defined as creators and artists, rather than by the challenges they regularly face. By celebrating their unique creative accomplishments and reinforcing the value of their work through public exhibitions we promote positive self-identities and help build self-esteem. My name is Nick and I have lived on Salt Spring Island for 5 years now. I’m originally from Barrie, a small town in Ontario. Well it started small but it is the fastest growing city in Canada. I got sick of Barrie, but more importantly I was making bad decisions. I could either leave or continue screwing up, spiraling down. I consider myself a hobo but I’ll find home eventually. I am still looking. Right now I sleep in a tent; nothing British Columbia throws at me weather wise is scary. H…
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Artists from the Fringe: Danene's Story

In this series, we share stories from Art Jam participants. Art Jam - a volunteer-run program of the Salt Spring Arts Council - provides a safe, welcoming space for members of our marginalized community, where they can be defined as creators and artists, rather than by the challenges they regularly face. By celebrating their unique creative accomplishments and reinforcing the value of their work through public exhibitions we promote positive self-identities and help build self-esteem. My name is Danene and I just turned 50. When I first arrived on Salt Spring I was parking in front of the Local and some woman yelled, "your kind of people can't park here.” I asked her what kind of people she thought I was and she simply replied with "you know." Back then I was driving a 1986 Toyota van that had stickers all over it. I told her that “you can't make that assumption because you know nothing about me.” At that time the homeless people mostly hung out in Centennial Park. They were…
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People Profile: Marialyn and Tom Boekbinder from El Loco Taco

Community People Profiles on the Salt Spring Exchange feature local personalities on our island home. These profiles are short interviews that share with us a little about what each of these folks are thinking about as they go about their lives and work on Salt Spring Island. This profile features Marialyn and Tom Boekbinder from El Loco Taco Marialyn and Tom arrived on Salt Spring Island 5 years ago. Tom is a retired Veterinarian ad after some time got bored. Tom loves to cook and feed people and Marialyn loves working with people and serving them. They purchased the El Loco Taco Mexican food shop last November and have been working hard to learn the business, new for both of them. Making improvements in the menu ingredients, such as fresh meats, smoked on premises and other fresh ingredients. With the addition of the full restaurant, licensed, they hope to make this a place for local to come and eat great food, have a drink and socialize. What brought you to Salt Spr…
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Black History Month: Sylvia Estes Stark, Matron of Salt Spring

During Black History Month we celebrate pioneers who were a key part of BC and Canada's history. Sylvia Estes Stark immigrated to Canada in 1858, settling on Salt Spring Island in 1860. Having been born into slavery in the United States, Sylvia Stark embraced the pastoral life on the island, and was a true homesteader and pioneer. Living to an old age of 106, Sylvia was an island legend, and her stories of life in slavery - which she relayed to locals - are archived in the Provincial Museum in Victoria. She had seven children, including a daughter named Emma, who earned her teaching certificate and became the first female black teacher on Vancouver Island. Stark's Road on Salt Spring Island, just North of Ganges is original Stark's family homestead. The original family home is still on the road and in the care of one of Syliva Stark's descendants.
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Winners! - 2019 Country Grocer Valentine's Photo Contest

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's Country Grocer Valentine's 'Show Us Your Love' photo contest. The winning participants receives a $150 dinner at Auntie Pestos, two runners up get a $50 Country Grocer gift card and each participating couple receives a one-time Country Grocer voucher for 15% off which expires on March 14/2019! Winners were selected by random draw live at Country Grocer Salt Spring Island. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who sent in amazing photos of their love. Check out all the photos and scroll to the bottom to find out if you won!   And the Randomly Drawn Winners Are! Thank you fo…
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Video: Local Love - Conversations Collected by Billie Woods

I have wanted to do this project for a few years now. I am so curious about relationships. What makes them work and what keeps them good. I had the chance to sit down with 4 Island couples to ask them just about that. This is a very small portion of the question + answer's but a good overview of each couple.       .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }
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2019 Country Grocer Show Us Your Love! Valentine’s Day Photo Contest

Every season is the season for love. Let’s face it: Love is trending 365 days a year. But Valentine’s Day adds a dash of spice and invokes romance. It reminds some of us to do something different and extra special, perhaps with a bit more flair or creativity, to say, “Thank you for being so amazing.” If you you’re the kind of couple who loves to do that with fine food and wine then you may want to try to win our dinner for two at Auntie Pesto’s (gift card valued at $150)! To earn a chance to win this dinner, all you have to do is upload a photo with you and your sweetheart. Show us your love! (Your “clothed” love, of course!) Whether you’re young and ecstatically in love or in your 90's with a twinkle in your eye whenever you see each other, whether you’ve taken your “flirt” down a few notches over the years or you’ve taken your flirt up a few notches, we want to see your love. Here are the guidelines for the Valentine’s photo draw: Please submit only one photo per …
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Let's Win the Lottery Together Salt Spring Island!

If this ticket wins the big draw of the LOTTO MAX on Friday this week, with an estimated $60 million dollar jackpot, we'll share the winnings with everyone from Salt Spring Island that has LIKED and SHARED this post on Facebook. Open to Salt Spring Island full-time residents only!
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People Profile: Dr. Bob Richmond

Community People Profiles on the Salt Spring Exchange feature local personalities on our island home. These profiles are short interviews to tell us a little about what each of these folks are thinking about as they go about their lives and work on Salt Spring Island. Dr. Bob Richmond, affectionately known by many as Dr. Bob, is a conventional chiropractor who likes to make the profession fun and approachable. He and his wife, Mary Jane, have been living on Salt Spring Island for 4.5 years. After practicing in Vancouver and the Maritimes for over four decades, he chose to move to Salt Spring as it has a similar feel to his native New Zealand. The sheep connection goes without saying. "My preferred lifestyle doesn't include being stuck in gridlock on the freeway every morning, so Vancouver was no longer an option. My goals include a healthy and active longevity. I've got my eye on living to 116. So far, so good!" As a self-declared communicator, he likes the chal…
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Islands Trust - Regarding Beachside (Island Escapades)

I have received numerous calls and e mails from islanders who are concerned about a stop work order on the renovations to the Beachside, formerly Island Escapades, property on the Ganges waterfront. It is a valued business and benefits our community. We would all like to see it succeed. However as in any jurisdiction, whether incorporated or not, there are specific by-laws and regulations which must be followed. There are many layers to this issue. Our rules and procedures stem from the Official Community Plan (OCP) developed after a great deal of time and input from the community, covering all matters relating to land use. It includes requirements for development within our villages, along our shorelines and close to streams among others. Bylaws derived from the OCP, and permit requirements within the OCP, cannot be ignored. Simply put, a landowner can do nothing significant to disturb the land within a Development Permit Area (DPA) without a permit, which will ensure that …
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People Profile: Kiran Dhingra

Community People Profiles are a series on the Salt Spring Exchange featuring local personalities on our island home. These profiles are short interviews, with one answer questions to share with you a little about what each of these folks are thinking about as they go about their lives living on Salt Spring Island. This weeks featured local people profile is: Kiran Dhingra Here’s a bit about Kiran; I moved to Salt Spring Island from Toronto in 2010 with my husband and two children I completed my Masters of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, and began working in the field of child welfare in Toronto after I graduated, where I was a case manager to children and youth in the permanent care of the province. After several years, I began working on the prevention side of things where I was involved in a number of projects and initiatives with the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto that were related to supporting children, families and communities to prevent …
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People Profile: Meet Peter Parker

This People Profile is the fifth in a series of profiles about people who work at Pharmasave here on Salt Spring Island. These profiles are short interviews that give islanders some insights into the lives, careers, and daily experiences of the pharmacists and employees working at Pharmasave. This People Profile is about Peter Parker, who works at the Uptown Pharmasave next to Country Grocer. Here’s a bit about Peter. What brought you to Salt Spring? I've worked here as a substitute pharmacist since 1999-2000, I think. I always enjoyed the people and staff here. An opportunity came up in October 2015 to join Gary and Linda's team, so I jumped in with both feet. Owners Gary and Linda are some of the best people I have ever worked for in 40 plus years of work. How long have you been working at Pharmasave and have you always worked in this position? No, I was educated in Nova Scotia and worked as a store manager and also in a head office position as a Pharmacist Recrui…
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Meet Wafa, Downtown Pharmasave’s Store Supervisor

What brought you to Salt Spring? My family and I used to come to Salt Spring Island for vacations and loved it. During our vacations, we were introduced to a wonderful community of people. Following those visits, we decided that, instead of living in a busy city, we would move to a nice, calm environment for our family to grow in. How long have you been working at Pharmasave and have you always worked in this position? I have worked at Pharmasave for 11 years. For the past 5 years (if I can remember correctly), I was promoted to Front Store Supervisor. Before working at Pharmasave, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? One of my many previous jobs was at Superstore giving away food samples. When I used to tell the customers to come back in a few minutes when the product would be ready, they would continue to stand there. I think it was cute; maybe they thought the food would cook faster. What is your favourite part about working at Pharmasave? M…
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Meet Sneh Parikh, Pharmacist at Pharmasave

How long have you been working at Pharmasave and have you always worked in this position? I have been working at Pharmasave since September 2014 as a staff pharmacist. This is my first job as a pharmacist in Canada and am really happy to choose this place as my first job. I usually switch between both stores—Uptown and Downtown Salt Spring Pharmasaves. What is your favourite part about working at Pharmasave? The best part about working at Pharmasave would be the support and co-operation from my fellow team members. The staff at Pharmasave goes beyond to help our customers in the best possible way we can. The work environment is friendly and well organized, which makes the job really stress free. The staff at both stores are also truly impressive and always open for new suggestions. What kind of thing(s) make your day? How often does that happen to you? Being a pharmacist, I get the chance to help patients review their medications and solve any drug-related pro…
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People Profile: Meet Christine Steffich, Pharmacy Manager

How long have you been working at Pharmasave and have you always worked in this position? I started at Pharmasave as a brand new pharmacist after graduating from UBC Pharmacy in June 2001. I have never worked as a pharmacist anywhere else, and I feel very fortunate because I found the best employer right out of school! I am especially lucky because Salt Spring is my hometown. Before working at Pharmasave, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? After high school, I worked for the BC Ferries. That was a great job with a safe future, and I learned a lot working in the cafeteria, in the terminals and on deck as a deckhand ― but I was young and I longed to do something fun and exciting. After 2 years on the ferries, I asked for a leave of absence. My request was denied, so I quit. I started as a server and then as a bartender at the legendary Vesuvius Inn in 1988. I worked there on and off in between travels for 7 years. I developed deep relationships an…
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People Profiles: Meet Lynn Vanderwekken, Pharmacy Manager

How long have you been working at Pharmasave and have you always worked in this position? I have been working at Pharmasave since 1991. Obviously that was when only the downtown store was open. I started work as a cashier, and then I worked on the floor, stocking shelves. This was during my summer break from UBC. Once I got in to the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department, I worked as a pharmacy assistant. I graduated from UBC in 1994 as a pharmacist and began working as such in June. I moved to the uptown facility when it opened in 1999 and became the pharmacy manager at that time. I have been the pharmacy manager since then, except for taking three year-long maternity leaves when I had my 3 children. What is your favourite part about working at Pharmasave? The best part of working at Pharmasave is the feeling of family. We have a great team that supports each other and helps each other out. The camaraderie is amazing. We also have very generous bosses who will do almost anythi…
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Moonshine Mama’s: What’s the Secret to Savouring?

Who isn’t intrigued by the word “moonshine”? It’s not a word we hear often these days. It conjures images of brewing under the light of the moon. And when we see that word on a beverage, we can’t help but be curious―even if it’s alcohol-free! It’s not just the word moonshine that provoked a deep curiosity in me, it was the other words―elixir and tonic―and the packaging, too. The novelty branding is reminiscent of 19th century quackery. Promises of longevity or irresistible healthy locks come to mind. But Moonshine Mama’s doesn’t proclaim anything like this. The turmeric elixir speaks for itself! In spite of the vintage vibes of the packaging, a mouthful of the elixir is an authentic zing of freshness, and the clean combination of ginger, turmeric, and lemon is a complete sensory experience. I discovered Moonshine Mama’s Sour Cherry Turmeric Elixir at Country Grocer. Sour cherry? I pre-puckered in preparation for “tart”! But it was not to be. The sour cherry was a…
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People Profile: Charles Kahn

Community People Profiles are a series on the Salt Spring Exchange featuring local personalities on our island home. These profiles are short interviews, with one answer questions to share with you a little about what each of these folks are thinking about as they go about their lives living on Salt Spring Island. This weeks featured local people profile is: Charles Kahn Here’s a bit about Charles; I have lived on Salt Spring for 24 years. I have an editing and writing background, mostly in educational publishing (textbooks and government publications). I have been president of the island's Historical Society, Friends of Saltspring Parks, and the Channel Ridge Homeowners Association. I have also coordinated Salt Spring Island Restorative Justice for several years and continue to volunteer with the organization. I have worked on the Public Library Board, on a focus group in the first revision of the island's community plan, and with BC Parks and CRD Parks on an ongoing …
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People Profile: Harry Burton

Community People Profiles are a series on the Salt Spring Exchange featuring local personalities on our island home. These profiles are short interviews, with one answer questions to share with you a little about what each of these folks are thinking about as they go about their lives living on Salt Spring Island. This weeks featured local people profile is: Harry Burton Here’s a bit about Harry; HARRY BURTON runs Apple Luscious Organic Orchard in the south end of Salt Spring near Ruckle Park. With it's over 200 varieties of apples, and the largest collection of red flesh apples in Canada, it is an apple lovers paradise, with all apples raised ORGANICALLY, just as Mother Nature would approve. I also started and now co organize the Salt Spring Island Apple Festival now heading into it's 17th year, this Sunday, Oct 2nd. Last year we displayed 372 varieties of apples, all raised ORGANICALLY on Salt Spring. That was the largest display of apples in Canada. Locals love t…
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