Salt Spring: The Story of an Island


344 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55017-191-7
DDC 971.1'28





Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is the financial and budget manager of the University of
British Columbia Library.


The largest of British Columbia’s southern Gulf Islands, Salt Spring
is well known for its resident artists, vacation amenities, and quiet
rural lifestyle. Less well-known, even to the residents, is its
extraordinary history of multiracial settlement, development, and
resistance to development. The members of the Salt Spring Historical
Society began researching and recording segments of their island’s
story as a project in the late 1980s. They subsequently turned their
material over to the author (a member of the society and a Salt Spring
resident himself) for compilation into a single work suitable for
publication. The result is this well-researched and carefully documented
history of Salt Spring and its residents, from ancient aboriginal
settlers to 1998 developers. Happily, it is also a lively and
entertaining narrative, full of colorful characters and reminiscences,
and illustrated with many historical photographs. Oral histories,
government records, newspaper reports, and ships’ logs impart the
flavor of the times along with their strands of the story. The selected
bibliography and notes include hundreds of published and unpublished
sources, and there is a detailed index. In compiling and documenting
this history for “Salt Spring Island residents—past, present and
future” as a scholarly work, the author has also produced a new and
intriguing piece of B.C. history.


Kahn, Charles., “Salt Spring: The Story of an Island,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,