Visitors: what they love about Salt Spring

“Hubbard summed up her stay by commenting on how nice it was to not see American franchises on the island.”

November 6, 2014

Recently, I was talking to a friend about wanting to visit the Channel Islands near France. He said he had been to these islands and that there “was nothing there.”

I disagreed and told him that I would like to visit the Gerald Durrell Zoo that houses nearly extinct animals as well as many of the castles that are open to the public.

I understand where he was coming from. He likes to (some would say ‘obsesses’) meet women, eat organic food and sit in cafes on his laptop as he globe trots.

My point is that as tourists or travellers (and I think there is a difference between the two), we have different ideas as to what we like to do. Recently, when I visited Iceland, my priorities were finding out about the huldu folk (the little folk), going to the museums because Scandinavian museums are probably among the best in the world (and for something completely different, I did not want to take a pass on the Penis Museum) and soak in all of city swimming pools that are volcano heated and open to the climatic elements. Others I met there went on every tour offered to view the natural sites. I love nature but other things, especially the huldu folk and the volcanic rock that they apparently inhabit took priority for me on this trip to Iceland.

When the following article was published, some people were surprised that more tourists did not mention the huge island Saturday Market as being top on their lists. I was surprised about some of the aspects of the island that the tourists, I interviewed, enjoyed most. This seems to be connected, though, with tourists’ interests which stay with them even when they are not travelled.

Here is the piece:

Gulf Islands Driftwood Weekender
August 8, 2008
Visitors: what they love about Salt Spring
by Tanya Lester

While the number of summer tourists to Salt Spring Island may be down from recent years, visitors interviewed last week were not shy about describing the island as “a many splendor’d thing.”

Tourists took the time to praise everything from Ganges’ shops to Ruckle Park to their conversations with island folks.

Bee Hubbard, from Bisbee in south-eastern Arizona, heard about the island’s interesting bookstores before she even got here. She liked all of them, but singled out Sabine’s Fine Used Books Ltd., and Salt Spring Sound and William Matthews Bookseller as her favourites.

The latter particularly apprealed to her because she agrees with Matthews’ literary tast.

“Finding classis books is quite difficult to do today,” she said.

But Hubbard bagged her most interesting book find at Mary Hawkins Memorial Library. On the free rack, she foundLaughing Boy by Oliver LaFarge.

“I checked with the librarian to be sure they really wanted to give it away,” she said.

Ruckle Park also rated high on her list of enjoyment during the three days she stayed here after experiencing other B.C. locales, including Nelson, Vancouver and Tofino.

“I lived that it belonged to a family and it’s still being farmed,” Hubbard said. “I liked the forest and I didn’t have to go far to find a comfortable spot to sit and view the ocean.”

Lydia Ksionda liked Ruckle Park for much the same reasons as Hubbard did. The Montreal native, who now lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, pointed out that the south-end park is unique among B.C. parks. It is the only one with a working heritage farm.

Ksionda was also complimentary when referring to her choice of accommodation: Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast on North End Road, owned by Liz Turner. She and here partner stayed there while on the island.

John and Barb Bynne from Seattle, Washington knew about Salt Spring’s reputation for creative people and were drawn to the island for its arts. They walked through all of the galleries. Pegasus Gallery of Canadian Art and J. Mitchell Gallery were mentioned as the two they preferred.

The concert held last Friday night in Centennial Park with Australian band Oka, and sponsored by I-SEA, provided a lot of pleasure for the Bynnes. They especially enjoyed the band’s use of the didgeridoo…

Roza Tcoukaleyska, a University of British Columbia geography student living in Vancouver, liked the Saturday market’s food products, including the local cheese, tomatoes and bread.

Sharon Barth, who is staying on the north end of Salt Spring for two months, also rates the arts as something that she likes about the island, along with Ganges’ small retail stores, From Pforzheim, Germany, Barth has found many enjoyable ways to relax on the island, including reading, hiking, riding horses and swimming.

“I really like the landscape: lots of ocean (views), lakes and forest,” she said. “Time is not important here.”

Seattle’s George Castle agrees that the island is a wonderful, relaxing place to be, especially when the sun is shining.

Hubbard summed up her stay by commenting on how nice it was to not see American franchises on the island. She also liked the conversations she had with island people.

Recent statistics from the Ganges Visitor Centre indicate six per cent fewer people have dropped into the centre for tourism-related queries so far in 2008, over the same period in 2007.

To read the first posts on this blog, please go to
Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter. Google.
Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or by going to the title and author name (to read the first few pages and buy it) at
Tanya Lester’s other books are
Friends I Never Knew, Dreams & Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes. They are available in some public libraries and at the Provincial Archives of Manitoba.

**** Tanya Lester is not writing a tad for the Sooke Voice News. Look for her stories in the newspaper’s online or paper versions****


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