Artisans & Salt Spring Island

Interesting BBC International news item…the story was about a group of artists in New York, several years ago…dancers, painters, sculptors, writers…and how their creation of “their enclave” resulted in the eventual gentrification of this low priced and undeveloped area, with substantial price escalation of real estate there.

First the artists, with their creation of a vibrant alternative and artistic local style, and then the followers, their “audience”, appeared and suddenly the area was “discovered”…hmmm….

Bleeker Street

Bleecker Street | New York City

So, it’s really the Gulf Island art scene, so colourfully and happily entrenched on special Salt Spring, that has led to the upscaling of the Island?


Well…maybe not entirely, but the emphasis on an arts culture could be a part of the overall “upticking” of values.

The Islands Trust, created in 1974, to preserve and protect the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, for the benefit of all B.C. residents, controls growth on the Islands via severe zoning bylaws.

Between 2000 and 2005, a low Canadian Dollar against other currencies (U.S., Euro, Pound), coupled with the internet that erased time and geography, enticed many people to the beautiful Pacific Northwest Coast.

That global / international discovery also attracted people to the beauty and to the arts culture on Salt Spring Island.

The increase in property values had begun. Buyers drive markets, not sellers or realtors.

In those years, with a “finite” inventory (the Trust) and a visible flowering of the arts scene via several magazine write-ups, people did flood onto Salt Spring, looking for their part of paradise….

Yes, the economic crash of 2008, and the resulting flatness of tourism, did create hardships on the Island. The rise in the value of the Canadian Dollar has also had an effect. Things went up 60 percent and down by 30 percent? Still didn’t go back to pre-2000 levels, though!

Yes, it’s an interesting thought that perhaps the discovery of these Islands, and their subsequent “gentrification“/increase in value, can be attributed to those artists who first arrived in the 60s and 70s and early 80s. Hmmm…..

In one way, it shows the power of the artistic vision to “attract”…the content providers are the invisible engines of change?

They may not agree with the outcome, that one has to be able to afford to live in any enclave area, but perhaps the artists really did create our “today”, on Salt Spring?

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