Bridge replacement closes Jarrod’s Grove on Salt Spring Island for one month

Jarrod’s Grove Nature Reserve will be temporarily closed for one month as construction crews work to replace a bridge. The eight-hectare nature reserve, managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), overlaps part of the salmon-bearing Cusheon Creek on the west side of the island and features a network of walking paths. The existing wooden pedestrian bridge that crosses the creek has decayed significantly, posing a potential safety risk to visitors to the nature reserve. From Aug. 15 to Sept. 15, crews will be working to construct a custom steel pedestrian bridge that will have a longer lifespan and will better support streambank structure. Due to the presence of heavy machinery, no visitors will be allowed within the entirety of the reserve during this time. The neighbouring Creekside Rainforest Nature Reserve, managed by the Salt Spring Island Conservancy, can only be accessed through Jarrod's Grove and, therefore, will also be closed for the duration of the brid…
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Photos: Salt Spring Island gets its Pride on once again

Salt Spring Island, renowned for its natural beauty and vibrant community, is hosting its very first Salt Spring Pride Festival this weekend from July 28 to 31, 2023. The festival aims to bring together residents and visitors alike to celebrate diversity, promote inclusivity, and spread love throughout the picturesque island. The Salt Spring Pride Festival is an exciting milestone for the community, reflecting the island’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. This four-day extravaganza, housed at the Salt Spring Island Farmers’ Institute, will feature a rich tapestry of events, including the Pride Dance, guest musicians, and workshops offering something for everyone to enjoy and engage with. Participants will have the opportunity to offer additional workshops and activities through the Co-Creation Hub. These interactive sessions will explore important issues related to 2SL…
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New conservation area on Reginald Hill protects rare woodland ecosystems

Community support and a family’s commitment to conservation helped realize ambitious conservation project - The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing some good news for nature with the protection of a large Salt Spring Island property. The site supports one of British Columbia’s most rare and imperilled ecosystems: Coastal Douglas-fir forests. The 161-hectare property sits on Reginald Hill at the south end of the island and hosts a thriving diversity of rare and at-risk species. The new conservation area nurtures a maturing Coastal Douglas-fir forest, with mossy outcroppings, Garry oak plant communities, rocky bluffs and multiple wetlands. These woodland ecosystems are amongst the most imperilled in Canada and are vital habitat for many unique threatened or endangered species. The Coastal Douglas-fir zone (CDF), like what is found on Reginald Hill, is the smallest and most at-risk biogeoclimatic zone in BC. Within Canada, it is found only on southeastern Va…
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Salt Spring Island to host Pride Festival in July 2023

Salt Spring Island is set to host its first-ever Pride Festival from July 28 to July 31, 2023, celebrating diversity, inclusion and love. The four-day weekend is housed at the Salt Spring Island Farmers’ Institute with the Pride Camping Village, the Pride Dance, guest musicians, workshops, and more. Participants will have the opportunity to offer additional workshops and activities through the Co-Creation Hub. The festival site is extensive and includes a Dance Hall, Outdoor Stage, Pop-Up Open Mic, Kid Zone, covered booths, and a shaded rest area. There is lots of space for camping where festival goers can get to know their queer neighbours. Attendees will be invited to join in the extravagant return of the Salt Spring Pride Parade through downtown Ganges on Saturday, July 29th. The festival aims to provide a safe and inclusive space for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and their friends and allies to come together, celebrate their experiences, and raise awareness a…
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Creekside rainforest saved - Rare coastal temperate rainforest permanently protected on Salt Spring Island

The Salt Spring Island Conservancy (SSIC) is thrilled to announce that Creekside Rainforest is now protected in perpetuity as the Conservancy’s ninth nature reserve. The acquisition of the 6.3 hectare (15.5 acre) Creekside Rainforest is part of a long-term vision of Salt Spring Island’s conservation community to protect the fresh water, salmon habitat, rare species, imperiled ecosystems, and archaeological and cultural features of this rare area of coastal temperate rainforest. In 2008, the 7.9 hectare (19.5 acre) property adjoining Creekside Rainforest Nature Reserve was protected thanks to a community fundraising effort. Initially held by TLC The Land Conservancy of BC, this land became the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Jarrod’s Grove Nature Reserve in 2015. Creekside Rainforest Nature Reserve (CRNR), together with Jarrod’s Grove Nature Reserve, represents a unique area of lowland coastal temperate rainforest within the drier forest ecosystems more commonly associated wit…
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2023 Country Grocer 'Me & My Pet' Photo Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered our 2023 Country Grocer 'Me & My Pet' Photo Contest hosted in partnership with the Salt Spring Exchange! We've randomly selected our three winners! Check out all the wonderful entries below and scroll to the bottom to find out if you won! ------------------ 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 and the Salt Spring Exchange want 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! Have a look at all the entries received so far below. 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 Monday, April 10th, 2023, we’ll randomly choose the three winners and announce them here on…
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2023 Country Grocer 'Me & My Pet' Photo Contest

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 and the Salt Spring Exchange want 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! Have a look at all the entries received so far below. 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 Monday, April 10th, 2023, we’ll randomly choose the three winners and announce them here on the Salt Spring Exchange: Here are this year's prizes donated by Country Grocer: First prize: A gift for your pet and a $150 gift card for you Second prize: A gift for your pet and a $100 gift card for you Third Prize: A gift for your pet and a $50 gift card for you Here are the guidelines…
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Planning underway for Portlock Park Site Master Plan

The Capital Regional District (CRD) Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) is developing a 20-year site master plan for Portlock Park. This project was identified as a priority in the 2019 Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan in response to the community’s desire for increased access to recreation facilities and infrastructure development for additional playing fields on Salt Spring Island. The site master plan will assess current and future capacity needs to identify suitable expansion opportunities. This plan will inform a phased capital planning approach for new facilities and program amenities based on input provided from First Nations, key stakeholders, and the public. The first round of public engagement begins with a public survey open from February 17 – March 6, 2023. The feedback and survey results will then be compiled in a report to be posted online and used as a reference to develop three draft conceptual designs for addit…
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2023 Salt Spring Film Festival Guide & Trailers

The Salt Spring Film Festival takes place from March 3 to 5 at Gulf Islands Secondary School, featuring 30 feature-length documentaries and nearly a dozen short films, many of them presented by the filmmakers themselves. Full Festival Passes, which included the Opening Night Gala Film, are available for advance purchase via the ArtSpring Box Office. Full Festival Passes are $50. Other options (half-day, one-day and two-day passes) will be sold at the door during the Festival weekend. Subsidized passes are available by request, thanks to financial support from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 92. Read the full film festival guide: Watch all film trailers below: OPENING NIGHT GALA sponsored by Coast Gallery and Gallery 8 STILL WORKING 9 TO 5 [Dir: Camille Hardman & Gary Lane, USA, 2022, 96 min.] Friday, March 3, at 7:00 pm at GISS (doors open at 5:30 pm for the Gala dinner). Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton headline this invigorating doc…
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2023 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. More entries were received this year than ever before! 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, thank you for sharing your entry with your community! Country Grocer generously donated prizes again this year which included one 'Grand Prize' of a Dinner for Two with cider pairing at Salt Spring Wild Cider, a first 'Runner Up' prize of an ‘Island of Love’ Country Grocer Gift basket - Champagne and Chocolate (if over 19 years of age!) and a second ‘Runner Up’ prize of a $100 Country Grocer Gift Card. Remember, Country Grocer has flowers, chocolates, gifts, cards and more to spoil your special Valentine!

Here are …

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'Pie Ladies' of the Salt Spring Island Women’s Institute share donations from the sale over 600 pies

February is Women’s Institute Month, and in honour of the birthday of our founder, Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, the Salt Spring Island Women’s Institute (also known as the “Pie Ladies”) is pleased to announce our annual 2022/2023 donations. We are a group of only seventeen members, but with the enthusiastic help of sixteen community women, we were able to make and sell over 600 pies at the 2022 Fall Fair and Apple Festival. The wonderful support we get from the community when we sell our pies plus donations from Salt Spring Island gardeners, farmers and grocery stores help keep our costs down so that we can give more money away. This year, we are donating over $12,000 to local, provincial, national and international groups. We have made over 10,000 pies since 2001 and have given away over $100,000 in the past ten years, an outstanding amount for a group that has never had more than twenty members and who make all the pies that we sell. The Women’s Institute emphasizes don…
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Salt Spring Firefighters climb for the BC Lung Foundation

Salt Spring firefighter Dominique Gaudet is attending Climb the Wall, the BC Lung Foundation’s 22nd annual fundraiser at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, for the sixth time. Dominique’s firefighting team have come together to climb the Wall’s 48-storey stairwell, raising funds with every floor they climb. (And they do it wearing firefighting gear, too.) “As a firefighter I feel like it’s a part of my role to promote events that support causes like lung health. This year, specifically, I’m even more motivated because of the focus of helping children with asthma. Because I have kids myself, I understand that this message is extremely important and needs to be shared.” Sunday, February 26, Dominique and the rest of the Salt Spring firefighting team will climb to raise funds and keep their fitness in check: “As a part of the Salt Spring firefighter fitness committee, I think it’s only right for me to participate, and not just tell others to do it. I try to beat my personal…
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Nature Conservancy successfully completes fundraising drive for Reginald Hill acquisition

January 31 marked the end of the fundraising drive to support the conservation of Reginald Hill. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is grateful to the many Salt Spring Islanders who donated to the project over the past few months. Local contributions helped make the fundraising drive a success. Thank you to everyone who contributed! NCC will continue to work through the process of completing the conservation acquisition of the property over the next few months. “This land is not yet held by NCC – there is still more work to be done to transfer the lands into conservation. We look forward to providing an update in the spring when the acquisition phase of the project is completed,” said Steven Godfrey, West Coast Program Director for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “In the meantime, we ask people to continue to respect the private properties of the family and the neighbours.” NCC’s first priority after acquiring Reginald Hill will be to develop a conservation manag…
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2023 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(s) using the form below. Show us your love! Check out last year's entries for inspiration and check out the entries for this year's contest as they are posted below. 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 Dinner for Two with cider pairing at Salt Spring Wild Cider A reservation has already been made for you o…
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‘What do you mean violence on Salt Spring? This is paradise!’

It was in the winter of 1991 when a woman on Salt Spring Island was almost beaten to death. If she hadn’t fought back ferociously to protect herself and her 8-year-old daughter, she would have been another name on the too-long list of women who have died from gender-based violence. The woman, Marie-Té, was a friend of Shellyse Szakacs, who had moved to the island in 1990 to work on her master’s degree. “This is a powerful story about a very courageous woman,” Shellyse says. “What happened to her was horrible, yet it resulted in some very important changes in our community. It was the start of two organizations, the first, now called Islanders Working Against Violence (initially Gulf Islands Women’s Resource Network) and The Circle Education (formerly SWOVA); which respectively provide support, resources and refuge for women who need it, and address change at its roots with educational programs for youth with the goal of preventing violence in the future.” When Shellyse…
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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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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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