The quaint coastal community of Sidney by the Sea rests along the shores of the Saanich Peninsula. Reaching north toward the southern Gulf Islands and east toward the US San Juan’s this friendly port city balances the best of a small coastal town with all the excitement of Vancouver Island’s largest city only 18 kms (11 miles) away.
Majestic reflections of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges dazzle off the sparkling Salish seas along Sidney’s shores as ferries and pleasure craft navigate toward nearby destinations and return to its modern marinas, gorgeous galleries, boutique shops, restaurants, pubs and bakeries.
Year round Mediterranean like temperatures charm visitors and long time locals while providing this historical farming community with a perfect growing climate.
This safe haven was the wintering home of the Saanich People for ages long before contact with European pioneers eventually established in 1852. Sidney takes its names from nearby Sidney Channel and Sidney Island after Fredrick William Sidney of the British Royal Navy. The Saanich People have known the area as Tseteenus, meaning “sticking out”. A true description of Sidney–physically, culturally and in the hearts of all that travel here.
Sidney is known as Canada’s Booktown. All of twelve bookstores all within easy walking distance of one another provide a breadth of literature for any avid reader. New, second hand, antique and specialty books are available.
As well as providing port for ferries to the US via the city of Annacortes on Fidalgo Island, BC Ferries’ Swartz Bay Terminal is nearby with Victoria International Airport also within close reach.
Visit the Aquarium of the Salish Sea at the Shaw Ocean Discover Centre to explore beyond the surface of the local waters or catch a show at the Mary Winspear Centre.
The Sidney Museum and Archives provides a dynamic historical record of early North Saanich pioneers.
Mineral World and Scratch Patch offers the budding geologist the opportunity to explore walk-in caves, an incredible array of gems and minerals, a waterfall and river, volcano and displays showing how rocks a formed. Even try you hand at panning for gold!
The British Columbia Aviation Museum preserves aviation artifacts relating to Canadian history. Notably housing a full-size replica of the Gibson Twin Plane the beat out the Wright Brothers’ distance in 1903.
The breathtaking Butchart Gardens is the emerald of the area located just outside Sidney. The over 100-year-old show garden attracts visitors from around the world. Visit year round but don’t miss sensational summer firework displays.
Sidney’s perfect climate has allowed a variety of vineyards and a cider house to take root in the area while Beacon Avenue Market boasts the title of Western Canada’s largest outdoor market where you’ll find food, entertainment, arts and crafts. During the summer months discover the popular street market along main street on Thursday evenings.
Relax on the lawns of Tulista Park near the Washington State Ferry Terminal or go for a vigourous stroll along the 9.3km (6 miles) Flight Path around the Victoria International Airport. Island View Beach Regional Park south of Sidney offers a great walking beach with open fields stretching to beaches strewn with driftwood. The stretch of sanding fronting the first nations reserve is a renowned summer tanning spot while View Beach is a favourite for its boat launch and beachcombing.
Sidney has a reputation for some of the most sought after diving oppurtunities of southern Vancouver Island. Explore the wrecks of the G.B. Church and HMCS Mackenzie, two sunken vessels acting as unique underwater ecosystems.