Ganges is the largest of 4 villages on Salt Spring Island, and is the hub of most of the island's commercial and social activity. The other villages include Fulford, Vesuvius, and Fernwood, each a unique and interesting neighbourhood.
Salt Spring Island is not an incorporated community, although there is ongoing discussion around it becoming a municipality. Decisions around land use planning and zoning on Salt Spring Island are governed by the ISLANDS TRUST, a unique federation of autonomous local governments. This body is charged with the duty to 'preserve and protect' the unique amenities and environment of the 13 major Gulf Islands and the 450 smaller islands.
There is a strong health care system on Salt Spring Island. Residents are fortunate to have Lady Minto hospital, with extended care, over a dozen medical practitioners, as well as dentists, chiropractors, massage therapists and homeopathic specialists. Several assisted living facilities also exist on the island.
For our furry friends, excellent veterinary and pet care services and the SPCA have been established.
There are various facilities to serve young and old on Salt Spring Island. Youth and young families engage in activities at the Family Place, the Core Inn Youth project and with several voluntary organizations providing learning and support around a myriad of interests including parenting, music, sports, theatre and art.
Seniors can benefit from a number of seniors organizations focusing on housing, support and transportation.
The brand new, state-of-the-art SALT SPRING ISLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY opened in December, 2012 and services over 6000 patrons of all ages, offering loans in all form of media, internet lessons, a shut-in service and free access to the internet.
From September to June, the GULF ISLANDS SECONDARY SCHOOL offers high school education to over 600 youth living on Salt Spring Island and four of the other Gulf Islands. This excellent high school also offers an INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAM and the GULF ISLANDS SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS. In addition to the high school, there is one public middle school and three elementary schools as well as independent schools, daycare institutions and pre-schools. The Little Red School House Pre-School operates in one of the oldest school buildings in British Columbia.
This community is fortunate to have an excellent fire department staffed by committed staff and volunteers, an ambulance service, a search and rescue operation, the coast guard and an RCMP detachment.
Finally, there are about 16 faith-based organizations and many heritage churches that contribute to the community of Salt Spring Island.