The charming seaside hamlet of Ganges is the largest village on Saltspring Island, and the business centre and hub of the Gulf Islands of BC. Ganges is the primary location of most of the island’s shops, stores, galleries, restaurants and services.
Throngs of visitors and local residents converge on Ganges for the popular and colourful Saturday market in Centennial Park. The streets are abuzz with pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and marinas, restaurants, bakeries, craft stores and the many quaint little shops in Ganges all do a brisk trade during the summer season.
Ganges was named after HMS Ganges, the flagship of the Royal Navy’s Pacific Station between 1857 and 1860. Built in 1821, the Ganges was the last British sailing battleship commissioned for duty in foreign waters.
Ganges Harbour, previously named Admiralty Bay until renamed by Captain Richards in 1859, provides a tranquil summer anchorage for boaters wishing to explore the village of Ganges. The anchorage can be very busy and crowded in summer, and a breeze can pick up in the afternoons, so mariners are cautioned to keep an eye on the weather or book into one of the marinas in Ganges Harbour.
The Gulf Islands are known for being artisan enclaves, with laid-back communities of artists, poets, and gifted craftspeople. Ganges leads the island communities in this respect, with local artisans offering unique, hand-made crafts and treasures. You’re bound to find something original to take home with you.
The local economy of Saltspring Island is service-oriented and heavily reliant upon the tourist industry. The high level of services on the island are mostly concentrated in Ganges, and the majority of residential developments are also centred around the village of Ganges.
A public bus transit system covers the main routes on Saltspring Island, and the Ganges Faerie MiniShuttle service operates between the ferry terminals (Fulford, Long Harbour, Vesuvius) and Ganges, Ruckle Park, and Fernwood. Visitors can also hire a taxi or rent a car, motorbike, scooter or even a bicycle to take in some of the breathtaking views to be seen on Saltspring Island. Cycling is popular, but most roads are narrow and none have shoulders.
Location: Ganges is located in the geographical centre of Saltspring Island, in the sheltered waters of the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia. Saltspring is the most accessible of the Gulf Islands, with the most frequent ferry sailings on three routes to three ferry terminals. BC Ferries links Fulford Harbour (7.5 miles / 12 km south of Ganges) with Swartz Bay (near Sidney), and also links Vesuvius to Crofton on Vancouver Island. There’s a BC Ferries dock in nearby Long Harbour with links to both Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island and Tsawwassen on the BC mainland. Floatplanes also link the village of Ganges to Vancouver and Seattle.