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Salt Spring Island - British Columbia

Farms, Artists & Nature

With 8,000 residents, Saltspring is the largest and most populated of the Gulf Islands: 32 km (20 miles) long and 12 km (8 miles) wide. It was explored by the Spanish and British in the 1700s and settled in the 1850s.

Ganges is the major town on the island. Other communities include Vesuvius (on the northwest coast) and Fulford Harbour at the southern end of the island. Saltspring has become a haven for artists and the island has become a center for arts and crafts, particularly around the Ganges waterfront. The infocentre for the island is in Ganges. The island's name comes from a series of briny springs at the island's north end.

What to See & Do

Visitors will see sheep farms across the island, and Saltspring lamb is known by gastronomes around the world. The island has miles of hiking trails, forests and scattered beaches along the coastline. Because of its position in the shadow of Vancouver Island, it has a large amount of sunshine each year. You can get a good orientation to the town of Ganges by driving up Chatsworth Road where there is a good viewpoint showing the Ganges waterfront.

Parks & Scenic Places

Mouat Park near Ganges is a quiet reflective place near the town center. Ruckle Park, at Beaver Point is an unusual island park which was originally a pioneer homestead and farm. This park has camping facilities and picnic sites with the homestead on display. The farm remains in operation.

Mt. Maxwell Park has an excellent viewpoint on the summit. The peak is 595 meters (1,952 feet) and from here you can see the smaller Gulf Islands beyond Fulford Harbour and over to Vancouver Island. Along Musgrave Road is Drummond Park, the location of an ancient Indian petroglyph, which has a storied past. The carving of a seal was found in the water at Fulford Harbour and moved for safe-keeping to the local airstrip. The province moved it again, and finally it has found its rest in the park. A tiny park is found at the end of Beddis Road, at Beddis Beach. The beach is made up of broken shells and gravel. The views are wonderful -- including vistas of North Pender, Prevost Island and Swanson Channel.

The village of Ganges has a full range of shops and other services for travelers. There are supermarkets, a post office, gas stations and places to eat. You have a wide range of places to stay on Salt Spring, from deluxe to woodsy. Bed and breakfast operations are plentiful across the island, and these seem to be in sync with the laid-back pace of island life.

Where to Eat

There are several good restaurants on Saltspring including the charming Vesuvius Inn, which overlooks Stuart Channel; the Fulford Inn Pub, which offers pub lunches indoors or on a patio overlooking Fulford Harbour. The Seaside Kitchen serves seafood on the Vesuvius waterfront.

The most sophisticated and renowned restaurant on the island is the dining room at Hastings House. The restaurant is open to the public, and reservations are necessary. The food is always fresh, using local and regional meats, seafood, vegetables and herbs, and the cooking is so good that the hotel serves as a cooking school several times each year.

Where to Stay -- Hotel Guide

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Hastings House
(250) 537-2362
A member of the exclusive Chateaux et Relais, is a luxury hideaway inn with a fine dining room This is, without question, the most deluxe place to stay on the island. Expect to be pampered in a unique inn with a genteel country ambience..
Cusheon Lake Resort
171 Natalie Lane
(250) 537-9629
This is a secluded waterfront resort with log chalets, swimming, canoeing, fishing and hot tub.
Arbutus Court Motel
770 Vesuvius Bay Rd.
(250) 537-5415
This motel has standard rooms and housekeeping suites.
Harbour House Hotel
(250) 537-5571
The hotel is on the Ganges waterfront at the Harbour's End Marina, with standard units, a cafe, pub and shopping nearby.
The Inn at Precious Meadows
177 Vesuvius Bay Road
The inn has a cottage, in addition to rooms, set in gardens on 11 acres of property.

Saltspring Camping

Ruckle Provincial Park is located 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the Fulford Ferry terminal, at the end of Beaver Point Rd. with 40 walk-in waterfront campsites and space for a few RVs. Mouat Provincial Park in Ganges has 15 drive-in sites, and this is the place for RV people to stay.

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