Salt Spring Island first inhabitants were the Cowichan and Saanich Indians, which were
part of the Coast Salish Indians. They spoke Halkomelem, and Lekungenung. They used Salt
Spring Island as a hunting territory.
Around 1857, the first non-native settlers arrived and were former black slaves from the United
Circa 1858, Captain Richards named the island Admiral Island, after his superior officer
Rear Admiral Baynes. Ganges Harbour was first known as Admiralty Bay.
The name Salt Spring Island comes from the 14 or 15 natural saline springs, that were
present on the Island. The local residents of the time took to calling the island Salt Spring
Island, because of these springs. Eventually, the official name was changed to Salt Spring
Size & Population
Salt Spring Island, at 193.5 sq km, is the largest of the Gulf Islands. The Island's
population has grown to 10,640, according to the 2016 Census. The population was only 2000
There are three BC Ferry routes for travelling to and from Salt Spring Island.
The first is from Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island, near the Town of Sidney. This ferry
arrives at Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island. The trip is usually about 35 minutes.
The second is from Tsawwassen, which is part of Greater Vancouver, on the BC Mainland.
This ferry arrives at Long Harbour on Salt Spring Island. The length of the trip varies,
as there are non-stop direct sailings, and also sailings that stop at other Southern Gulf
The third is from Crofton, which is near the Towns of Duncan and Chemainus. This ferry
arrives at Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island. The trip is usually about 20 minutes. The City
of Nanaimo is about 45 minutes from Crofton.
There are two seaplane companies, that offer scheduled flights between the Town of Ganges
on Salt Spring Island and Vancouver. One is Salt Spring Air, and the other is Seair.
Salt Spring Island has public bus service between the Town of
Ganges and the three ferry terminals on the island. There are also taxis and a car rental
service on the island.
TV & Internet Access
Salt Spring Island enjoys Shaw cable TV and Telus Optik TV. Satellite TV is available through
either Shaw Direct or Bell Express-Vu. High speed Internet is available from Shaw, or
Water, Septic, Sewer
Many properties take their water from ground water wells. However some sections of Salt
Spring Island are on community water systems, which source from the Island's lakes.
Examples of areas on community water include the Town of Ganges, parts of Vesuvius, and
Most properties are on septic systems, although the Town of Ganges, one phase of Channel
Ridge, and Maliview are on community sewer systems.
Business & Culture
The main commercial centre for Salt Spring Island is the Town of Ganges.
The are also various commercial ventures in the Village of Fulford.
Salt Spring Island has an active Chamber of Commence, which runs the Tourist Info Centre.
Salt Spring Island has its own performing arts centre known as Artspring. Swimmers
enjoy an indoor pool facility. Readers have access to a local public library.
Golfers benefit from the Salt Spring Island Golf & Country Club, which has a licenced restaurant.
Boaters enjoy two local marinas, plus a Salt Spring Sailing Club. The Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle yacht
clubs all have outstations for their members on Salt Spring Island
Financial services are provided by CIBC, the Bank of Montreal, and Island Savings Credit
Union, all which have a full-service branch on Salt Spring Island.