About Saltspring Island
Located between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island, Saltspring Island is the largest and most populous of the Gulf Islands with a population of about 10,000 full-time residents and 182.7 square kilometres (70.5 square miles). The largest village on the island is Ganges. In addition to Canadian dollars, island banks and most island businesses accept Saltspring's own local currency, the Salt Spring Dollar. The island is part of the Southern Gulf Islands, (Saltspring Island, Galiano Island, Pender Island, Saturna Island, Mayne Island), which are all part of the Capital Regional District, along with the municipalities of Greater Victoria.
With 225 farms, the island is well established in agriculture and is well known for it's local sheep farming. Be sure to visit the outdoor Market in Ganges, where many of the local farmers and growers display their organic crops, and many of the local artists display their wares. Visit one of the vineyards or cheese farms or stop by in the fall to partake of our famous Fall Fair and our Apple Festival.
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The island was known as "Chuan" or "Chouan" Island in 1854, but was called "Saltspring" as early as 1855, in honour of the island's salt water springs. In 1859, it was officially renamed "Admiralty Island" in honour of Rear-Admiral Robert Lambert Baynes by surveyor Captain Richards, who named various points of the island in honour of the Baynes and his flagship, HMS Ganges. However, locals continued to refer to the island as Saltspring, and it was named thusly in James Richardson's report for the Geological Survey of Canada in 1872. According to records of the Geographic Board of Canada, the island was officially renamed Saltspring on March 1, 1910, though the year 1905 is given by unofficial sources. According to the Integrated Land Management Bureau of British Columbia, locals incline equally to Saltspring and Salt Spring for current use.