We recently spent a few days on Salt Spring Island. If you’ve ever considered living on an island then you’ll already have considered the question of how to get there. Salt Spring is one of the Gulf Islands and is served by BC Ferries. It is better served than most since there are three different ferry connections: two to Vancouver Island and one to the mainland.
The fare to the island is payable only when going to Salt Spring – you can leave for nothing! This is the way BC Ferries works on a number of its routes, particularly to other islands and even to the Sunshine Coast. Nevertheless the cost of the ferry ride is something to consider if you’re thinking of settling on an island.
Once you’re on Salt Spring Island, you’re on island time. The west coast has a laid back attitude compared to the rest of Canada, and the islands even more so. Just chill!
The charm of this island is its artistic community. You can see signs for artists studios all over the island. Pick up the Studio Tour brochure and visit artists that appeal. On our trip we seemed to zero in on the culinary experiences. We visited the Salt Spring Island cheese company. You can see them making the cheese and try samples of their cheeses, relishes and olives too.
The next stop was the Salt Spring Island Bread Co where we picked up some delicious bread and focaccia. Their sunny garden, surrounded by lavender plants is the perfect place to eat your lunch. It seemed like we were in Tuscany somehow.
Our trip to the island would not have been complete without visiting the wineries. We went to all three and particularly enjoyed having a glass of wine on the patio at Mistaken Identity. Their patio overlooks the vineyard and once you’ve tasted some of their wines you will want to have a glass and enjoy the view. They have a nice cheese tasting plate too.
If the culture, and eating, is too much then you can mooch around in the shops in Ganges, Fulford Harbour or Vesuvius Bay. And of course there are a lot of beaches and lakes where you can cool off and relax even more.
Island life is not for everyone. You may need to take a ferry or seaplane ride to get something or other that you need. But that same distance ensures that life is slower and as the bumper sticker says: “Relax! This ain’t the mainland”.