SALT SPRING (pop. 10,000) is the biggest, most settled and most visited of the islands – its population triples in summer. Most enjoyment on Salt Spring, as with the other Gulf Islands, is to be had from sinking back into its laidback approach to life: grabbing a coffee at a café overlooking the water, browsing galleries, cycling the backroads or hiking the odd easy trail. If you’re without transport, however, you may want to think twice about coming here as a day-trip, as getting around is pretty tough, although a public bus service has recently begun operation.

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