Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Market stalls in the fall

This past weekend has been Thanksgiving here in Canada. It’s a time to spend quality time with family, fill up on turkey and pumpkin pie, and also indulge in a long weekend. We wondered what better way to kick off a long weekend than by taking a little trip over to one of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands. For that reason, we visited Salt Spring Island, or ‘Old Salty’ as locals like to call it.

Travelling to Salt Spring Island

Located in the Strait of Georgia between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island, Salt Spring Island is one of Canada’s Gulf Islands. Salt Spring was originally inhabited by the Salishan people, who were later joined by pioneers in 1859. Nowadays, it’s the largest and most populated of the Southern Gulf Islands. To get there, you can catch a BC Ferry from Vancouver’s Tsawwassen terminal. It takes just over an hour to arrive in to Salt Spring Island. It’s also a great day trip to take from Vancouver.

Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, British Columbia

Nestled in among a crowd of people bearing pumpkin pies and turkeys in preparation for Thanksgiving, we hopped onto the ferry for the island. The ferry journey itself is beautiful, and so serene. Look at the stunning scenery you’re treated to. You could even see seals pop their heads out of the water.

The ferry from Tsawwassen to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
The ferry journey to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

The Saturday Market

Every Saturday from April through October, you’ll find Salt Spring Island’s famous Saturday market. Next to the ocean at Centennial Park, the market boasts dozens of arts and crafts stalls. You’ll find quirky and folksy arts including pottery, jewellery, clothing, and much more.

Saturday Market, Salt Spring Island

The market initially began with organic produce including cheese and organic snacks. Today, it retains its status with over 140 artisans and food producers gathering each Saturday. It’s unique in that all produce must be grown or made organically by each vendor. It’s this that gives Salt Spring Island its crafty and authentic reputation.

Crafts from Salt Spring Island Saturday market
Crafts and arts on sale at the Saturday market on Salt Spring Island
Organic fruit and veg at Salt Spring Island market
Fresh organic produce at Salt Spring Island Saturday market, British Columbia
Organic produce at the Saturday market
Organic produce at Salt Spring Island market

Having begun as a pretty grey day on Salt Spring Island, the sun eventually came out to say hello. Fall was well and truly in full force in British Columbia, producing some very lovely coloured trees. Everywhere you look, the trees are draped in burnt orange leaves and it all looks so warm and beautiful. We explored everything from pottery to the fresh, organic produce among the dozens of market stalls.

Delicious shortbread at the market
Fresh produce on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
Market stalls on Saturday

You can grab a tasty bite, from fresh pasta and pizza to all different flavours of shortbread.

Pizza and pasta for sale on Salt Spring Island
Market stalls in the fall on Salt Spring Island

It’s worth coming along to Salt Spring Island’s Saturday market just to see the power of fall in full force. Perhaps you’ll also pick up a pumpkin along the way.

Market stalls in the fall
Market stalls on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
Fall on Salt Spring Island
The market on Salt Spring Island

Exploring Salt Spring Island

There’s no denying that Salt Spring Island is an eccentric place to be. We passed some pretty interesting fashion choices, and teenagers doing handstands on the sidewalk on a number of occasions. I think that’s part of the charm of the island. It’s a retreat away from the large city of Vancouver. It must be so interesting to live there, a step away from civilization.

Orcas on Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Harbour, British Columbia

The island also offers some pretty nice views across the harbour.

Views across the harbour
Salt Spring Harbour
Salt Spring Harbour
Fall on the Gulf Islands
Views across Salt Spring Harbour

When you finish exploring the intriguing and arty town of Salt Spring Island, you can simply hop back onto the ferry. We caught the bus back to the ferry terminal, and got on the return ferry via Victoria. We also enjoyed the most glorious sunset along the way, between Vancouver Island and Vancouver. It’s worth catching the ferry for this spectacular view alone.

Sunset near the Gulf Islands, British Columbia

A wonderful day trip to British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.


Have you visited Salt Spring Island before? If so, what did you do? How do you typically spend your Canadian Thanksgiving weekend? Let me know your traditions in the comments below.

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Laura
Laura

I’m Laura, a roaming blonde who recently made the leap from my home in the Cotswolds, UK to be based across the pond in Vancouver, BC for a brand new job and plenty of adventures.

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