Fundraiser for Salt Spring Community Park helps put the finish line in sight

The campaign to acquire 75 acres on Hwmet’utsum (Mt. Maxwell) for a community park took a major leap forward this past Monday, with a fund-raising dinner at Foxglove Farm hosted by Michael Ableman and Jeanne-Marie Herman, and organized by local non-profit Salt Spring Solutions with the help of partners, local businesses and other volunteers. More than 80 community members came together to pledge over $150,000 during the event. Host and MC Ableman humorously held the apple tartine dessert hostage until they reached the night’s goal. Haidee Hart, familiar to Salt Springers who love her wares at Woodshed Provisions, created the dessert, and was one of four renowned chefs who collaborated on the meal. After an initial serving of warming bone broth, Maxime Durand of Eva Schnitzelhaus in Victoria led the way with melon and salmon salads. Galiano’s Pilgrimme chefs Melanie Witt and Jesse McCleery followed with beautiful vegetable pizzas, and Dave Gunawan of Vancouver’s Ubuntu Can…
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Friends of Ruckle Park Heritage Society celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the Ruckle family homestead

Henry Ruckle’s farm turns 150 years old this August 31. We’re all Ruckle heirs, because his & Ella Anna’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren sold, for a song in late 1973, their full 1,200 acres to the B.C. government, for everyone to enjoy. To help celebrate this anniversary, we’ve been working hard for several years to prepare the oldest farmhouse for public touring. Until 2018, use and care of the farm buildings was in their hands. After Helen Ruckle passed that June, BC Parks took over. The Henry & Ella Anna house is the “little” white one beyond the barn, heading toward Grandma’s beach -- Grandma Ella Anna’s favourite one. Many of us have been peering through the farmhouse windows for years, imagining what life was like within it, from the inside looking out. It’s quite a different experience to stand inside, to appreciate the great floor plan and its 1,300 roomy square feet -- not so little! Sorting and arranged the abundance of furnishings and possess…
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Seizing teachable moments to overcome prejudices

This is the final reflection to the Circle Education’s “Connecting the Dots”, a series to acknowledge World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Kate Nash, who leads our youth programs in School District 64, knows how important open dialogue is. Even when it feels uncomfortable. Imagine a school with plenty of light, plants and bright art on the walls.  It is hard for such an environment to not inspire feelings of joy, comfort and belonging. The things we see have an impact on how we feel.  You can imagine how it felt when I walked in one Monday morning and noticed small swastikas scribbled onto the vending machines. There are two ways to respond to such a situation; one is to remain open and curious and the other is to blame and shame.  While the latter drives people closer to their prejudices in an act of defense, curiosity cultivates conversation. As a facilitator for The Circle Education, I deliver social-emotional programs to kids in our school…
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Campaign launches to create a new Community Park at Hwmet’utsum/Mt. Maxwell

The Capital Regional District (CRD) Board has agreed to purchase, in partnership with Salt Spring Solutions Society (SSS) and a community collective of stakeholders, 75 acres of land and a Statutory Right of Way on Mount Maxwell for community park purposes. This acquisition is subject to raising an additional $350,000 through community fundraising. The 75 acre forested property is being offered to the community for a reduced price of $850,000 thanks to a generous donation by the family that owns the property. An additional $250,000 donation has been pledged by local philanthropists, and the CRD will contribute $250,000 towards the purchase price through the Salt Spring Island Park Land Acquisition Fund. The remaining $350,000 of the purchase price needs to be funded through community fundraising coordinated by SSS and the Salt Spring Island Foundation. “The CRD recognizes the high recreational and conservation values of this property near Mount Maxwell, traditionally kno…
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Temporary housing solution reached for Seabreeze Inne residents

Temporary modular housing units have been secured to support 22 people currently temporarily residing at the Seabreeze Inne. A two-week extension of the lease at the Seabreeze Inne will provide residents with a safe and secure place to live until they can move into modular units on Kings Lane. The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation has agreed to extend the current lease at the Seabreeze Inne until July 15, 2022. “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation for generously extending the lease at the Seabreeze Inne, providing people with a safe roof over their heads for the past six months,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “BC Housing continues to work diligently to build the new permanent supportive housing facility at Drake Road.” BC Housing has been leasing the Seabreeze Inne from the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation since January 2022. Residents are receiving support services from the Salt Spring a…
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Connecting the Dots - Cultural curiosity and compassion

In honour of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21st, The Circle Education is connecting the dots between similarities that blend us together in a shared humanity as well as the differences that allow us to proudly stand out. Adele Mark moved from Los Angeles to Salt Spring Island when she was fifteen years old: from a melting pot of cultures and religions to a small rural island. With her Jewish background, she was a minority on Salt Spring Island and she even encountered antisemitism. In this blog, she writes how curiosity and compassion can lead to understanding and greater cultural awareness despite differences. I grew up in Los Angeles, California in a Jewish household. My family wasn’t religious, but our Jewish faith was a part of our everyday life. My mom prepared traditional Jewish foods made with lots of love (and garlic), we communicated through Jewish humour passed down through the generations, and we called each other Yiddish …
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Connecting the Dots - “Where are you from?”

In honour of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and development on May 21st, The Circle Education talks with young people to celebrate different backgrounds. Through our youth, we hope to offer a look at the world from different perspectives. In this way, we begin to open up horizons, providing our societies with connection and making them more inclusive A series of interviews will be published throughout May and the beginning of June. Janine-Fernandes-Hayden, Executive Director at The Circle Education, starts off with a story about how her feelings changed about the question “Where are you from?” “Where are you from?”  With brown skin and an "exotic" last name, it seemed like a reasonable question to be asked.  And yet, I remember going through a stage in my life, when I found this question horribly offensive.  I am a first-generation Canadian and at the time, I felt appalled that I might be labeled as an immigrant, especially one from India, piggybacked wi…
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2022 Country Grocer 'Me & My Pet' Photo Contest

Thank you to everyone who entered our 2022 Country Grocer 'Me & My Pet' Photo Contest hosting in partnership with the Salt Spring Exchange! We've randomly selected our three winners! Check out all the wonderful entries and find out if you won below! ---------------- Maybe it’s a hamster, a rooster, some donkeys, a dog, a new kitten or even a turtle. Our pets enrich our lives. Country Grocer’s Pet Food Department wants to celebrate National Pet Day with a Photo Contest. It’s a great excuse to show Salt Spring the pets we love. We want you in the photo too! So please send us a photo of you and your pet using the form below and we’ll put it up on the Salt Spring Exchange for all to see. Check back here regularly to see the approved entries as they are submitted. At noon on National Pet Day, Monday, April 11th, we’ll randomly choose the three winners and announce them here on the Salt Spring Exchange: First prize: A gift for your pet and a $150 gift card for you Se…
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2022 Country Grocer Valentine’s Day 'Island of Love' Photo Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered this year's Country Grocer Valentine’s Day 'Island of Love' Photo Contest sponsored by the Salt Spring Exchange. Over 170+ entries were received this year! 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, share it with your community! Prizes this year were, one 'Grand Prize' of a $200 Dinner for two at the Salt Spring Cidery, the first 'Runner Up' will receive an ‘Island of Love’ Country Grocer Gift Basket (Value of $150 ) filled with local goodies, the second ‘Runner Up’ will receive a $100 Country Grocer Gift Card and remember Country Grocer has flowers, chocolates, gifts, cards and more to spoil your special Valentine!

Here are all the entries received! Enjoy the sweet faces of all this island love.

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2022 Country Grocer Valentine’s Day 'Island of Love' Photo Contest

Join Country Grocer and the Salt Spring Exchange in celebrating Love on Salt Spring Island for Valentine's Day! Enter our ‘Island of Love' photo contest for a chance to win one of three wonderful prizes to help you celebrate your love. To enter the contest, all you have to do is upload a photo of you and your sweetheart using the form below. Show us your love! Check out last year's entries for inspiration! 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, share it with your community! Country Grocer has generously donated prizes again this year and you now have a chance to win: One 'Grand Prize' of a $200 Dinner for Two at the Salt Spring Cidery Reservation has already been made for you on Valentine's Day! (Changeable of course if you can't make it that day) The first 'Runn…
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Islanders invited to remember and commit to violence-free communities

On Monday, December 6, Salt Spring islanders are invited to gather online at 5 PM in memorial and solidarity of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.  Like last year, the memorial - hosted by The Circle Salt Spring Education Society and Islanders Working Against Violence (IWAV) - will be a Zoom event that will be live-streamed online. The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada was established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada to commemorate the 14 young women who were murdered by a gunman on December 6, 1989, at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal as a deliberate act of violence against women. More than 30 years have passed since the École Polytechnique massacre, and gender-based violence continues to be a real and horrific issue in the world, in Canada, and in our own community. Every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner (Statistics Canada 2019) and on any given night…
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IWAV granted $18,500 from collective fundraising network of 100+ Women Who Care

Eighty-two members of the 100+ Women Who Care Salt Spring group gathered via Zoom on a rainy November 17th to hear compelling five-minute presentations from three worthy Island causes. An anonymous vote was cast in real time, revealing the charity of choice who will receive a $18,500 pooled collection is IWAV, or Islanders Working Against Violence. “Our staff are thrilled for this amazing contribution from women in our community to extend our outreach services and support for our second stage residents,” explains IWAV’s Executive Director Kisea Petersen. “These women have left intimate partner violence or other gender-based violence and look to IWAV to help them regain confidence, resiliency, and a healthier future for them and their children.” For almost 30 years IWAV has been providing safety and services for women experiencing violence, abuse, and poverty. With 28 staff and several volunteers, it operates multiple programs and facilities including a 24-hour crisis line…
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Our first clear win on housing

Folks, it’s been a long and winding road, but today we finally have something to celebrate on housing! After years of pressure from people like you, the Local Trust Committee (LTC) finally passed some significant motions last week that should have a positive impact on our workforce housing crisis. This is a huge win and we need to celebrate success!!! Stepping back for a bit, the Islands Trust itself had written many reports over the past 20 years on things it could do to support affordable and workforce housing. The problem was, few to none of the recommendations were ever implemented. Our group presented a comprehensive list of changes in July 2019 that they could make immediately without changing our Official Community Plan. Two years later, none of these had been implemented. All the while, the pandemic accelerated the trends of unaffordability and lack of housing supply for the working and middle class, creating the breakdown in the community we see today. …
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Gulf Islands Families Together Society Receives $17,500

“Due to the generosity and support of 100+ Women Who Care, many of our vital programs such as Shauna Devlin's Dance Your Abilities and John Reid's music program, that preserve the mental health of participants, will continue to run through these challenging times,” Heather Duerichen, manager of Gulf Islands Families Together Society (GIFTS), said after the May 12th meeting of the 100+ Women Who Care. On that evening, members of the high impact philanthropic group met on Zoom. They listened to presentations for three charities that had been nominated and randomly drawn from the charity basket prior to the meeting. They were the Gulf Islands Families Together Society (GIFTS), Gulf Islands Seniors' Residence Association (GISRA) presented by Helen Hinchliff, and the Salt Spring Community Health Society presented by Martha Taylor. Each presentation was uniquely informative and compelling, but on this evening, members voted to have GIFTS be the recipient of about $17,500 in member…
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Protect Lot F’s Forest: Protect Groundwater, Reduce Forest Fire Risk, and Mitigate Effects of Climate Change

Our own survival depends on the survival of our forests. All of Salt Spring’s water comes from rain. Without forests, wetlands and watersheds will not work, and potable water sources are negatively affected. Salt Spring is at greater risk to wildfire with fragmented, dried out, unhealthy forests that lack biodiversity. BC has had 111 forest fires already this year. Healthy forests also mitigate the effects of climate change, which islanders will feel more and more in the coming decades. For all of these reasons and more, a dedicated group of islanders have been working hard to protect what remains of the Larmour Lands on Beddis Rd. — and what remains to be protected is the mature coastal Douglas fir, Western redcedar, and Bigleaf maple forest on Lot F. Located on the upland portion of Lot F of the Larmour Lands on Beddis Rd., this healthy, mixed forest is threatened with being clear-cut or developed. This portion of Lot F has two significant forested wetlands…
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2021 Country Grocer Valentine’s Day 'Love In A Bubble' Photo Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered this year's Country Grocer Valentine’s Day 'Love In A Bubble' Photo Contest! Over 160+ people entered the contest this year! 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 appreciate your sharing it with you community! Our prizes this year were, one 'Grand Prize' of a $200 dinner for two at Auntie Pestos, two 'Runners Up' will receive a ‘Love in a Bubble’ Gift Basket from Country Grocer which will include several bubbly things and remember Country Grocer has flowers, chocolates, gifts, cards and more to spoil your special Valentine! Here are all the entries received! Scroll down to the bottom to find out if you won! The winners are... 1st Place: Valentine's Dinner for two at Auntie Pestos. ($200 value) plus a beautiful Valentines Bouq…
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2021 Country Grocer Valentine’s Day 'Love In A Bubble' Photo Contest

Thank you to those of you who entered! The contest is now closed. Stay tuned for the winners announcement shortly here on the Exchange! Join Country Grocer in celebrating love on Salt Spring Island for Valentine's Day! Enter our ‘Love in a Bubble!' photo contest for a chance to win one of three wonderful prizes to help you celebrate your love. To enter the contest, all you have to do is upload a photo of you and your sweetheart using the form below. Show us your love! Check out last year's entries for inspiration! 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, share it with your community! Check out the entries submitted so far below! Country Grocer has generously donated prizes again this year and you now have a chance to win: One 'Grand Prize' of a $200 Dinner for Two at Aun…
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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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