Salt Spring Island Facts
- In early times, Native Canadians used the island during the warmer weather months for harvesting seafood, camas lily bulbs and wild fowl. Evidence has shown that they probably had summer lodges around Ganges Harbour.
- The first settlers arrived on the north end in 1859, including about 18 whites and 5 Afro-Americans. The Negroes came seeking liberty and freedom from discrimination. Early settlers were given the right to buy the land they were homesteading for no more than $1.25 per acre when it came in the market. Hawaiians and Portugese also settled here before 1900. Marriages with the Native Indian community also occurred. Japanese families arrived on Salt Spring about 1920.
- Salt Spring is named for the salt springs located on private property on the north end, near Fernwood. The Indians used to call it Chuan or Tuam Island, while early settlers named it Salt Spring. The British Navy decided in 1859 to call it Admiralty Island, after one of its officers. It officially reverted to Salt Spring Island in 1906.
- Ruckle Farm in the south end is the oldest continuously operating family farm in British Columbia, established in 1874. In 1977, Gordon Ruckle sold the non farm portion of the farm to the province of British Columbia, so that now everyone can enjoy RUCKLE PARK, with over 1000 acres of park, 11 km of shoreline, kilometers of hiking trails and tenting on the shores of the ocean. Campers may pitch a tent where they chose and cars must be left in the parking lots.
- The oldest continuously used school in BC (built in 1885) is the Little Red School House next to the Beaver Point Hall, near Ruckle Park
- Salt Spring was the first place in BC to start growing apples.
- Salt Spring's oldest church is St . Paul's Catholic Church on the east side of Fulford Harbour. Started in 1880 and completed about 5 years later, some of the building materials were borrowed from St. Peter's Church in Cowichan, ferried to Burgoyne Bay and then hauled by ox-drawn stone boad to the Fulford site.
- Salt Spring has an invisible dividing line, coinciding with the boundary of the telephone exchange, separating the north from the south. The north end is richer, more developed and more conservative, while the south end has earned a reputation-not wholly deserved-for being home to former US draft dodgers and old hippies, who make ends meet by growing pot. In fact, pot is often grown on the north end also.
- Salt Spring lamb is world famous and has been featured on the menu when the British Royal Family has visited BC.
- The highest point on the island with a 360° view is Mount Bruce at 709 metres (2325 feet). It is a popular launching spot for hang-gliders which land in the Fulford Valley below.
- Amateur and professional musicians-some recording artists among them, make their home here, along with more than a dozen recording studios.
- Salt Spring has long been known for it's wealth of artistic talent. About 18 art galleries exist on the island.
- Salt Spring is a KAROAKE, LINE DANCE and LIP SYNC Free Zone.