Posted by: cherylyoung | November 21, 2009

Day 25 Visit Sidney by the the Sea


Set amidst the natural beauty and unspoiled charm of the Saanich Peninsula

 the vibrant community of Sidney-by-the-Sea is the gateway to the BC

Gulf Islands and the US San  Juan Islands

This bustling commercial hub of the Saanich Peninsula is blessed with majestic views

of the ocean, the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges.  Sidney is a tourist’s dream –

a friendly port with modern marinas and a multitude of unique galleries, gift stores,


antique shops, restaurants, bakeries and coffee bars.  Sidney-by-the-Sea appeals

to those who enjoy bothseafaring excursions and land-based adventures.

There are many inlets and nearby islands, 3 km of public

accessible waterfront – including many beaches and great beachcombing –

and severalinteresting attractions in and around this pretty littleresort town.

 Sidney enjoys a moderate Mediterranean type climatewith year-round

mild temperatures, low rainfall and very little snow

Historically, Sidney was a small farming communityand the location of

Vancouver Island’s first flour mill.The heavily wooded forests of the region

soon fosteredsawmills and a thriving lumber industry.

The Saanich People have lived on the Saanich Peninsula for thousands of

years prior to contact with Europeans.

The Hudson’s Bay Company  obtained large tracts offorested lands

from the Saanich People in 1852.

James Douglas purchased much of the land in NorthSaanich in 1858, and

one year later William andCharles Reay became the first settlers on the

northern portion of the Saanich Peninsula when they purchased land from the

Hudson’s Bay Company.Some of this land is now the town of Sidney,

incorporated as a village 1952



Sidney takes its name from nearby Sidney Channeland Sidney Island,

originally known as Sallas Island. Captain Richards of the survey ship

Plumper renamed it Sidney Island in 1859, after Fredrick William Sidney

(later captain), also a member of the Royal Navy.

The Saanich People knew the site as Tseteenus,meaning ‘sticking out’

.Sidney is ideally situated close to all the major arrival points to

South Vancouver Island.By Air, visitors arrive at Victoria International

Airport,which is only 5 minutes away.

BC Ferries provides year-round service to and fromSwartz Bay,

immediately north of Sidney.Sidney is also the departure point

 for pleasure craftsailings and ferry traffic heading to the

San JuanIslands and Washington State in the United States.Population: 11,849 

Location: Sidney is located on the Saanich Peninsulaat the southern

tip of Vancouver Island, just east ofthe Pat Bay Highway 17,

five minutes south of theSwartz Bay Ferry Terminal and just 16 miles (26 km) 

north of Victoria.View maps of the area:
Map of Sidney
Map of Greater Victoria
Map of South Vancouver Island

 Sidney is known as Canada’s first Booktown – ten unique bookstores all within easy walking distanceof each other,

features a browser’s bounty of new, used boods,

Sidney is know as Book Town


The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

Aquarium and marine centre located on Vancouver

Island in Sidney.

 The 10,000 square-foot marine centre was created to

 provide local residents and visitors to the area an

 opportunity to learn more about marine life and get

 up close and personal with state-of-the-art aquatic


The centre features several fantastic exhibits

including the Gallery of the Drifters where visitors

will learn about jelly fish, algae and plankton and have

the opportunity to view them up-close with a video


The Gallery of the Salish Sea is a complete marine

 aquarium that recreates the ocean and provides an

 underwater view complete with hundreds of types

of fish, invertebrates and plant life.

The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre provides touch

pools where visitors can interact live with sea stars and


The Ocean’s Heartbeat is a complete wet lab and

classroom that is used to further educate visitors and

 school groups about aquaitic life and the many

ecosystems that support our Earth.

Explore the B.C. Aviation Museum – packed with vintage airplanes and

 equipment, including a reconstructed radio control room.


Discover original and replica planes dating back to 1910. Barnstorming bi-plane

rides may be arranged. 


The world-famous Butchart Gardens are located just a short drive west of Sidney.


The influence of the neighbouring Butchart Gardens is showcased in the

community parklands and individual gardens of Sidney businesses and residents.

 Just south of Sidney on the Pat Bay Highway is the Saanich Historical Artifacts

Society, a 29-acre park and large heritage museum, with many outdoor

displays, picnic tables, nature trails and a pond.

 A beautiful destination with lots to see and do.

Stroll among hundreds of dazzling buttterflies in an indoor tropical garden.

Butterfly Gardens, features the brilliant Blue Morpho, the delicately pattened

Giant Owl and the huge Atlas Moth.


Knowledgeable guides help you find well-hidden eggs, caterpillars and pupae i

n the lush rain forest vegetation.


Rare South African Turocos and tropical ducks can also be found.

Visit one of the local vineyards to sample the new and burgeoning vintages of

Vancouver Island.


Celebrate Canada’s birthday at Sidney Days on the Canada Day weekend with

activities and entertainment for the whole family.


Come join us for the Sidney Summer Market every Thursday evening from

June to September, when Beacon Avenue is closed to vehicle traffic between

5pm and 9pm.


Shopkeepers, businesses and pedestrians fill Beacon Avenue, creating a

carnival atmosphere!


Local residents and visitors alike enjoy musical interlude at Sidney’s Centennial

Bandstand Gazebo from July through September, with Sunday afternoon

bandstand concerts during July and August.



Exciting horse racing is presented year-round in the area with live harness

racing at the Sandown Race Track from June until Labour Day.



Treat yourself to a two-hour sea cruise around the harbour and islands, with a

close-up view of local wildlife, or enjoy a fully narrated horse-drawn carriage

 tour of Sidney.



Experience the thrill of a guided whale watching tour.

 The waters off Sidney are  home to three Southern resident pods of orca whales,

 Dahl porpoises, sea lions and seals.


From Port Sidney Marina you will view the islands from high speed boats that

track the whale pods and wildlife to ensure a memorable trip every time.


 Golf: Glen Meadows Golf and Country Club in Sidney is a challenging 18-hole

 championship golf course.


 Nearby golf courses include Sunshine Hills Golf Course (9 hole – Par 3) on

Central Saanich Road in Saanichton and the challenging 9-hole Prospect Lake

Golf Course on Prospect Lake Road in Central Saanich.


The Victoria area boasts 8 championship golf courses in close proximity,

 including Cordova Bay Golf Club, Olympic View Golf Club, Gorge Vale Golf Club,

Royal Colwood Golf Club, and Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club.


Nearby Oak Bay has the Victoria Golf Club and Uplands Golf Course.

Golf Packages in Victoria.


Tulista Park is a little gem of a seaside park and boat launch at the very end of

Lochside Drive, next to the Washington State ferry terminal.


With emerald green lawns and sparkling ocean waters, Tulista offers a place for

picknickers and boaters to relax, have a barbecue, and toss a frisbee.


The park offers a children’s playground, concession stand, walking trails, plenty

 of free parking, and is wheelchair accessible.


There’s a covered picnic area with ample benches and picnic tables as well as

public washrooms.


The paved waterfront walkway joins with the scooter-friendly Lochside

oceanfront walkway.


Visitors can access beaches, benches and take in the fabulous view.

The double-wide boat launch off Lochside Drive is open daily and tickets can be

 purchased on site.


 Sidney is a hub for saltwater fishing excursions.

Year-round salmon fishing is available, as well as cod, snapper, halibut, sole,

crab, prawns and shrimp in local waters.


Landlubbers can cast off the Bevan Avenue fishing pier.


Boaters can launch at the Van Isle Marina, or at the Tulista Park boat ramp on

Lochside Drive, beside the Anacortes Ferry Terminal.


Diving: Sidney has a reputation as one of the most sought after dive sites on

Lower Vancouver Island. 


Underwater marine parks rich in spectacular natural scenery attract divers from

around the world.


Divers can explore the wrecks of the G.B. Church and the HMCS Mackenzie, two

sunken diving reefs providing opportunity for some great underwater exploration.

Graham’s Wall, Tozier Rock, The White Lady, Burial Islet, Octopus Point, and other

hot spots off the peninsula’s coast are all accessible from Sidney, either as day

charters or liveaboards.


Kayakers will find the sheltered waters, secluded coves, islands, and nearby

 marine parks ideal for exploring.


Take a guided multi-day expedition to D’Arcy Island Marine Park, Reay Island,

Rum Island or Princess Margaret Marine Park on Portland Island.


Sidney is the centre of the largest concentration of marinas on Vancouver Island.


Several marinas and boating facilities are located along Sidney’s eastern shoreline,

including the fabulous Port Sidney Marina.


Sidney is popular with the Northwest boating fraternity, with boaters from

California, Oregon, Washington and Vancouver choosing Port Sidney as the

best destination marina on the west coast!


Take the little ferry to Sidney Spit Marine Park and spend the day beachcombing –

no stores or restaurants here, so pack a picnic lunch! 


 Be sure to visit the Gulf Islands National Parks Reserve Operations Centre in Sidney –

 it’s certified as the most environmentally friendly in the country.


Ocean water provides the heat, low-flush toilets use rainwater and even the t

emperature rises and falls depending on the number of people inside. 


 Nearby McDonald Park provides an overnight stop for campers arriving on a late ferry.

You’ll find a lot of marine traffic swirling around the area during the day, in the

evening the pulse slows to a sleep-inducing rhythm, especially once the last ferries

have sailed or docked for the night. 


 Island View Beach Regional Park south of Sidney offers a gentle cobble- and

driftwood-strewn beach, with good views of James and Sidney Islands and wildlife

viewing in the open fields behind the beach.


Shaw Ocean Discovery Sea of Love, Sip and Bid

Feb 28th 6-9pm

Sidney by the sea


Locals use the beach area fronting Indian reserve land north of the park for discreet,

clothing-optional tanning.


Island View Beach is a favourite beachcombing area, and a boat ramp is

conveniently located at the entrance to the park. 


 Other parks near Sidney include Horth Hill Regional Park in North Saanich, and

John Dean Provincial Park to the southwest of Sidney. 


 North of Sidney are the alluring Gulf Islands, snug in the Georgia Strait between

the BC mainland and the east coast of Vancouver Island. 


 South of Sidney is Saanichton, well known for flowers and rose gardens.

Bed and breakfast homes and riding stables are nestled alongside parks,

campgrounds, old-growth forests and small farms



SIDNEY BC.  for a slide presentation of Sidney













  1. […] Day 25 Visit Sidney by the the Sea « Cherylyoung’s Blog […]

  2. Great write-up. Please update: the Marine Ecology Station has been decommissioned and a new fabulous Shaw OceanDiscovery Centre opened in Sidney in June 2009. Check it out at

    • thank you, you are so right and I should know better I have been to the shaw centre a few times and I also work at the Best Western Emerald Isle and have sent many people there so I apologize again

  3. […] Day 25 Visit Sidney by the the Sea « Cherylyoung’s Blog […]

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