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100th & 30th Anniversary Open House

Salt Spring Centre of Yoga Open House

Yoga Classes, Farm Tours,
Local History Presentations and Refreshments
Sunday, September 4th, 2011, 12-3pm

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the historic Blackburn residence, the main house of the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga as well as the 30th anniversary of the Centre’s purchase of  this fertile land in the middle of Salt Spring Island.

On Sunday, September 4 we are hosting an Open House to celebrate these two special anniversaries. This will be an opportunity for the Salt Spring community to visit the Centre, learn about the history of the land and the Centre and share in our celebration. With free yoga classes for the whole family, treats from the Centre’s acclaimed vegetarian kitchen, tours of the organic gardens and the land, this is a wonderful opportunity to join the SSCY community for an afternoon. Throughout the afternoon we will also offer tours of the heritage house which was built in 1911 by the Blackburn family, the namesakes of the valley, the road and lake. Experts in local history will be present with archival photographs and stories of how land and residence has transformed over the last hundred years.

The Blackburn House – A Brief History

The house was built in 1911 by Allan Blackburn, a Scotsman from Skye. It was designed to emulate the original Blackburn home, though on a smaller scale. That home, named Roshven, still stands in Scotland, overlooking the islands of Eigg, Muck and Rhum. The Blackburn house consists of two and a half stories, each of approximately 3,000 square feet. Originally, it also contained a private Catholic chapel. This can still be seen in the semicircular apse and attached tower. When the Blackburn family first lived on the land it was used primarily as a Holstein dairy operation.

Allan Blackburn died in 1925 and was buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery at Fulford Harbour. His wife and son moved away from the property, and it was eventually taken over by the government which altered the interior and operated rehabilitation programs in it until after the Second World War. Subsequent owners reestablished it as a dairy farm, but when the Dharma Sara Satsang Society bought it in 1981 it was being used as a museum/gallery known as Galleon Manor.

When the property was purchased, it was in need of extensive work and renovation. As a community founded on the principles of karma yoga, or selfless service, the Dharma Sara Satsang Society worked  to improve the land and buildings while preserving their original character. Much of the seventy acres has been kept as untouched forest, with a beautiful trail running through it. Through extensive volunteer efforts, the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga has grown and flourished into a vital community with an organic farm, an independent elementary school, a flourishing karma yoga community and guests  from all over the world who come to take part in the Centre’s programs. Things look somewhat different now than they looked 30 years ago, but as Sharada Filkow, a long term resident at the Centre says, “the form has changed, but the foundation of karma yoga has remained the same.”

We look forward to sharing this celebration with the community. Please join us.