Driftwood Publishing Ltd. is a newspaper and magazine publishing company located in the beautiful southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada.
Based on Salt Spring Island, the company is the publisher of the Gulf Islands Driftwood community newspaper, as well as several magazines, many other vertical publications and two websites serving the interests of the Gulf Islands.
For readers we offer local news, including arts and entertainment, sports, community and lifestyle features, and breaking news and other content on our website and other social media pages. For visitors we offer a comprehensive guide of what is happening, where to stay, eat and play on the southern Gulf Islands of B.C.
For advertisers we offer the full reach of Salt Spring Island with our newspapers, the Driftwood and the Extra. As a paid-circulation community newspaper, the Driftwood’s circulation is verified by the Canadian Media Circulation Audit program. With the addition of the Driftwood Extra publication delivered free to the rest of Salt Spring Island’s households, 100 per cent advertising penetration can be provided.
Coverage of all the southern Gulf Islands and beyond is offered through both our Gulf Islands Real Estate and Aqua — Gulf Islands Living magazines. We also deliver the tourist market to advertisers with our two tourism magazines, the Gulf Islander and BCSouthernGulf Islands.com, running in tandem with gulfislandstourism.com.
Several other Driftwood publications have special focus areas, such as health & wellness, the Saturday market, Salt Spring’s fall fair and Pride events, seniors, building and home improvement, among many others.
The Gulf Islands Driftwood was launched as a humble, mimeographed 10-page news-sheet full of social news and quirky tidbits on March 24, 1960 by Woody Fisher, who had lived on Salt Spring Island for five years. The paper was bought by Jim and Arlene Ward in 1964, who changed its name to the Gulf Islands Driftwood, expanding coverage to the Outer Islands. Then in January of 1967, Frank and Barbara Richards purchased the Driftwood, moving to the island from Sidney, where Frank had been editor of the Sidney Review.
Frank became the Driftwood’s publisher, editor and reporter, with news coverage augmented by correspondents, while Barbara took care of production, sales and administration. An offset press, book and stationery store were all part of the business. Tony and Alice Richards began running the paper in 1979 and, like the islands themselves, it experienced tremendous growth over the next few years.
Tony and Alice took a hiatus from the paper between 1989 and 1993, and moved to Ottawa, when Joyce Carlson came from Powell River to be publisher.
The Richards freed themselves from the day-to-day demands of the business in 2004, although Tony Richards has remained the company’s managing director. Penny Sakamoto was publisher from 2004 to 2007, followed by Peter McCully until 2011, and Amber Ogilvie from 2012 to 2019. Nancy Johnson is the current Driftwood publisher.
On the technological side, a state-of-the-art typesetting machine was purchased in 1978, and typewriters in the editorial department were replaced by computers in the early 1980s. The paper switched to Macintosh computers in the 1990s and digital cameras came into use in 1999. The newspaper has been printed at various plants on southern Vancouver Island over the years, but is currently printed by International Web Express Inc. in Coquitlam on Tuesday. Finished newspaper pages are transmitted to the press by internet file transfer, and the finished product hits the shelves on Salt Spring first thing Wednesday morning.
The newspaper office has had various homes in Ganges: at the bottom of Ganges Hill, behind the old government liquor store on Jackson Avenue, in a long-gone house which is now a parking lot across from Salt Spring Elementary School, in the old Salt Spring Lands building moved (conveniently) next to Moby’s Marine Pub, at Lower Ganges Road and its present Fulford-Ganges Road site.
The Driftwood is a member of the BC and Yukon Community News Media Association, of which it has been a strong supporter. Four of its publishers have been president of the association. The Driftwood also belongs to News Media Canada and participates in its annual Canadian Community Newspapers Association program. The company has won numerous awards, including best newspaper in B.C. and in Canada in its circulation classes. While awards demonstrate high standards, the Driftwood’s mission is to produce high-quality publications and websites for its readers.