About Salt Spring Island

The name of the island has changed over the years. The Cowichan called it Klaathem (meaning ‘salt’). The Saanich called it Cuan (meaning ‘each end’ referring to mountains at each end of the island). In the early1850’s the island was referred to as Chuan but in the late 1850′s it was renamed Admiral Island in honour of Rear-Admiral Robert Lambert Baynes.

The island became known as Salt Spring Island because of the North End salt springs which still exist to this day. The Geographic Board of Canada adopted the name Saltspring in 1905 but most residents prefer it spelled Salt Spring, which was also adopted by Canada Post.

The Little Red School House, now a preschool, is Salt Spring Island’s the oldest continuously used school in BC and was built in 1885. It is located in the South end of the island near Ruckle Provincial Park. Salt Spring’s oldest church is Saint Paul’s Catholic Church in Fulford Harbour, which was built in 1880.

The Village of Ganges was named after HMS Ganges, a Royal Navy Battleship launched in 1821 which visited Salt Spring Island (Admiral Island at the time) between 1823 and 1861 conducting land surveys. Some of the Island’s villages are named after Captain and Crew of the HMS Ganges including Fulford Harbour and Southey Point in addition to Ganges Village.

Education on Salt Spring

The Gulf Islands School District (School District 64), with just over 1700 students encompassed in eleven schools, focuses on linking education to nature, community and interconnectedness.

The schools included in the district are Salt Spring Elementary, Fulford Community, Phoenix Elementary, Fernwood Elementary, Salt Spring Middle School (which includes a French immersion and a nature program) and Gulf Islands Secondary (which includes a performing arts program and an international program).

There are also several alternative education options such as the WOLF program and the Salt Spring Centre School.


There is a bus service through BC Transit that includes seven different bus routes around the island.

Back to Top