Who we are
Based on Salt Spring Island, B.C., in the Gulf Islands of Canada, Driftwood Publishing Ltd. is the parent company of Dritwood Gulf Islands Media, publisher of the Gulf Islands Driftwood community newspaper, and several other publications and websites serving the interests of the Gulf Islands. The Driftwood newspaper was established in 1960.
The business has grown since to include Aqua: Gulf Islands Living, a quarterly lifestyles magazine; the Gulf Islander, an annual visitor guide; Gulf Islands Real Estate, a monthly real estate guide; and two websites, www.gulfislandsdriftwood.com and www.gulfislandstourism.com. Driftwood Publishing also owns El Sol de la Costa, a magazine and website publisher in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
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 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 it experienced tremendous growth in the next few years, growth that matched that of the community it served.
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 about 1984. 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 the Black Press installation in Ladysmith. Finished newspaper pages are transmitted Tuesday afternoon to the press by Internet file transfer, and the finished product is delivered to Salt Spring 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 ratty house which is now a parking lot across from Salt Spring Elementary, in the old Salt Spring Lands building moved (conveniently) next to Moby's Marine Pub, and its present Lower Ganges Road site.
As a paid-circulation community newspaper, the Driftwood's circulation is audited by the Verified Circulation Program and, as of this writing, over 4,000 copies are sold each week.
The Driftwood is a member of the BC and Yukon Community Newspapers Association, of which it has been a strong supporter. It holds a record with four of its publishers having held the position of BCYCNA president. The Driftwood also belongs to the Canadian Community Newspapers Association. The newspaper 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.