Monday, October 2, 2023
October 2, 2023

Big Growth Spurt Measured on Gulf Islands

Growth in the Southern Gulf Islands population — obvious to anyone living on one of the islands in recent years — was confirmed by release of 2021 census data today.

The number of Salt Spring Island residents grew by 10.2 per cent between 2016 and 2021. On May 11, 2021, 11,635 people were residing on Salt Spring, compared to 10,557 five years earlier.

Populations on the other Gulf Islands grew at much faster rates, however.

Mayne Island saw the largest jump, from 949 to 1,304 residents, or 37.4 per cent. Galiano Island’s population grew from 1,044 in 2016 to 1,396 in 2021, or 33.7 per cent.

Saturna Island’s population increased by 31.4 per cent — from 354 to 465.

North Pender saw a slower pace of growth (19.4 per cent) from 2,067 to 2,467, and South Pender went from 235 to 306 residents, for a 30.2 per cent hike.

For Galiano and Mayne islands, substantial growth reverses a trend from the previous two census periods, which saw populations drop on both islands.

British Columbia had 5,000,879 residents on the 2021 census date (for 7.6 per cent growth), and Canada’s population reached 36,991,981, up 5.2 per cent from 2016.


  1. Across Canada, we have an average of slightly less than 3 people occupying a household.

    With an increase of 1,078 people on SSI in the past 5 years requiring 372 homes, this means that we need to build 74 new homes every year to answer that demand.

    Perhaps we are reaching that target, and if we are, its a pretty good chance every one of those new homes are fetching a million bucks or more.

    Spoiler alert: supply and demand is about to get much, much worse.

    We live in paradise, and everyone wants to be your neighbour. I haven’t met my new neighbour yet. They bought some beautiful raw land for several million dollars with room for half a dozen houses, sight unseen from their home in the USA. One day soon they may start building and actually live here. Or not.

    If and when they do, many of our other neighbours will be joining them when they vote for their next President.

    And many of our Canadian neighbours also own multiple homes across the Gulf Islands and Vancouver and elsewhere.

    We are collectively wringing our hands over a housing crisis of our own manufacture. We create it on an individual level by our complicity in whom we choose to sell to. And our elected governments make it easy to do so for both sides of the transaction.

    If you want to solve the housing crisis, here is how you do it:

    Every Canadian citizen of legal age would be entitled to own 1 residence. And every year they will pay 100% of their property tax bill.

    Every Canadian citizen of legal age who owns a second residence will be charged a surcharge of 100% or more of their property tax bill, with escalating rates for any additional residences without limit.

    Every non-Canadian citizen will pay a surcharge of 200% of more of their property tax bill.

    No corporations will be allowed to own a Canadian residence, and all current corporate-owned properties will be converted to citizen-ownership within 5 years.

    No one will be allowed to operate a bed and breakfast.

    These actions will serve to immediately drive down property values to levels that will allow your children to buy their own homes instead of waiting for their inheritance while living in your basement suite. They will be given this opportunity to raise their own children in their own homes, and they will have a future to build.


    None of this will ever happen. Not even close. Money is the most important thing in the world.

    There is no solution that we will accept to our housing crisis. But we will all accept the consequences of our actions.


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