Posted by: cherylyoung | February 17, 2013

Sidney B.C The most beautiful place in the world to live and visit

Sidney is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island on the Saanich Peninsula – just a 20 minute drive from  Victoria

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Sidney is home to the Sidney/Anacortes Ferry Terminal and is just minutes from the Victoria International Airport and the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

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Sidney is a year-round tourist destination with 3.6 kilometres of waterfront and a bustling downtown core, which also offers free downtown Wireless and Tourist Cams for everyone to enjoy.

 

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Thank you for taking an interest in our picturesque town of Sidney-by-the-Sea.

Situated amidst the Gulf Islands with Mount Baker in the distance, you will quickly discover why we are fortunate to live, work and play in this community where you can experience the relaxed atmosphere of a small seaside town and enjoy all the advantages of the big city.

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Sidney is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island on the Saanich Peninsula – just a 20 minute drive from downtown Victoria. Sidney is home to the Sidney / US (Anacortes, WA) Ferry Terminal and just minutes from the Victoria International Airport as well as the Swartz Bay BC Ferry Terminal.

Wide-ranged local bus service is available to all areas of the Peninsula and downtown Victoria. Our weather is the mildest in Canada with prevailing westerly ocean winds moderating both summer and winter temperatures.

We are a year round tourist destination with 3.6 kilometres of waterfront and many wonderful activities to explore including: a Historical Museum; the Ocean Discovery Centre; whale watching; street statues and murals; a Mineral World; and our 420 ft. Fishing Pier with a thriving marine life Artificial Reef. Our waterfront location allows for many other water related activities such as boating, sailing, kayaking, diving and fishing.

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Our pedestrian friendly downtown offers an excellent variety of stores, specialty shops and businesses providing unique products and personalized service. Sidney is Canada’s only Booktown where you can enjoy many hours of browsing through new and used books in a large number of bookstores. Sidney’s restaurants offer a diverse assortment of excellent meals and cater to all tastes.

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Sidney is alive with culture and entertainment, boasting its own Star Cinema with first run movies and the Mary Winspear Centre at SANSCHA providing meeting rooms, convention facilities and an exciting 310 seat multi-purpose Theatre for stage productions.

 
   

The Saanich People have lived on the peninsula for thousands of years, and prior to European contact, had winter villages throughout the region.

In 1852, the Hudson’s Bay Company obtained two large tracts of forested land from the Saanich People.

The area was then roughly surveyed by Joseph D. Pemberton, and became known as North and South Saanich Districts. The first white settlers to make residence at North Saanich were John and Mark Coles in 1857.

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Unlike the majority of settlers previous to the Fraser River gold rush, they were not formerly indentured employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

According to a letter written in January 1858, James Douglas (later Sir) referred to them as living “a distance of 20 miles” from Victoria.

This would place them near Deep Cove, where land records show that they held property. Apparently, they had a cabin/store where they were actively trading with the local Saanich People.

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Within a few months after the advent of the Fraser River gold rush excitement in April 1858, the majority of the North Saanich District was spoken for by white gold miners, settlers and speculators.

Among them were William & Charles Reay, Donald Fraser (notorious for his incorrect accounts of the gold rush in the London Times), William Booth, and Octavuis Ommaney who purchased land which is now part of the Town of Sidney.

Some debate has arisen over the bestowing of the name of Sidney in the area.

There is little doubt that Sidney Island (previously known as Sallas Island) and Sidney Channel were re-named after Lieutenant Frederick William Sidney (later Captain) who was a member of the Hydrographic Service of the Royal Navy.

The question is who bestowed his name on them.

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Traditionally it has been believed that Captain George Henry Richards, of the H.M.S. Plumper, a friend and colleague of Lt. Sidney named them after charting the area in 1859.

This has been supported and propagated because Captain John T. Walbran in his classic history British Columbia Place Names, 1592 1906 (published in 1909) stated that the name Sidney Island first appeared on Richards’ chart, Haro and Rosario Straits, published on July 28th, 1859.

Alternatively, the British Admiralty state that their findings show that Captain Henry Kellett in command of the HMS Herald with its tender the HMS Pandora under the command of Lt. Com. James Wood had conducted surveys in the area during 1846 to 1848, and that there is “very little doubt” they were responsible for re-naming the island. Until recently, this view was not received without reservation, as no undeniable supportive evidence was provided.

With the locating of the Admiralty Chart of 1847 (printed 1850), there is now no question that the name change from Sallas Island to Sidney Island occurred many years previous to Captain Richards arrival in the area.

Old Sidney

In 1891, fifty acres of land owned by the Brethour family was subdivided in lots and registered as the Township of Sidney.

By the close of 1892, there was a general store, a post office, a boat building shop and a hotel.

The name “Sidney” apparently came about when Julius Brethour, who became the first president of the Victoria and Sidney Railway, was asked the question concerning a name for the site.

 

“Brethour, looking across the water from the rude settlement, saw Sidney Island directly opposite, ‘It will be called Sidney’, said Mr. Brethour.” Sidney continued to grow as pioneer families moved into the area, and businesses flourished.

Transportation played a major role in the success of the peninsula, with rail and sea links to Victoria and the mainland, and more recently with Victoria International Airport established on the border of Sidney. Sidney was incorporated as a village on September 30th, 1952, and has enjoyed steady growth, and is now a town with a population in excess of 11,000 people.

  Sidney Today

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Enjoy special Town events, such as:

  • Sidney Days/Canada Day Celebrations;
  • Matinee Concert Series (Sunday Afternoons, July through August);
  • Summer Street Markets (Thursday Nights, June to August);
  • Sidney Fine Arts Show and ArtSea Festival;
  • Lighted Boat Sail Past & Santa Parade; and
  • First Night New Year’s Eve Celebrations.

Sidney is a wonderful place to visit and live, providing a high quality of life and a friendly, receptive atmosphere.

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