town in British Columbia, Canada

Sidney is a town of about 11,500 people (2016) north of Victoria, on Vancouver Island. It is generally considered part of the Victoria metropolitan area.

UnderstandEdit

The town west of Highway 17 (also called Patricia Bay Highway, locally abbreviated as the Pat Bay Highway) has a mixture of single-family residences and light industry. The majority of the town is east of Highway 17. Single-family units are also present east of the highway, but the eastern sector also has many condominium-type buildings, plus most of the service and retail outlets. The island-studded Haro Strait, part of the Salish Sea forms Sidney's eastern boundary.

 
Fish Market

Sidney is mainly an industrial town, with most people working in the construction, manufacturing, and warehousing fields (26%). Retail accounts for approximately 10% of the employment. Healthcare and social assistance employs 13%. There is a large boating and marine industry in the area, ranging from marinas to boatbuilders and marine suppliers.

Sidney is well known for having an abundance of senior citizens, producing a median age of 60.4 in 2016 as compared with the British Columbia median age of 43.0.

ClimateEdit

Sidney enjoys a cool climate with year-round mild temperatures and moderate rainfall. Most years see very little snow. Daily temperatures seldom climb above 31 °C (88 °F), or dip below −7 °C (19 °F). In the mildest winters, minimum temperatures stay above −3 °C (27 °F). Damaging winds are less frequent than in most other maritime areas of Canada.

Get inEdit

By boatEdit

From within British ColumbiaEdit

  • 1 BC Ferries (Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal is 6 km (4 mi) north of Sidney on Highway 17), toll-free: +1-888-223-3779. Operates ferries connecting coastal British Columbia communities.    
    • Destinations served by this terminal, all using ferries that carry vehicles and foot passengers
      • From Vancouver (Tsawwassen) ferry terminal in Delta with 1 hour 35 minutes crossing time. Inbound and outbound ferries normally depart at the top of the hour on odd numbered hours with first departure normally at 7AM and with last departure normally at 9PM. During the summer, ferries depart hourly for most of the day.
      • From Saltspring Island (Fulford harbour) with 35 minutes crossing time. Operates every 2 hours.
      • From other large Southern Gulf Islands (Galiano Island, Mayne Island, Pender Island, Saturna Island) with variable crossing times depending how many stops are made on route. Operates a limited number of times per destination daily and may require transferring to connecting ferries to reach destination.
    • Reservations
      • Reservations can be completed on BC Ferries' website or by phone.
      • Reservations are a generally good idea, as ferries can fill up. If you book far enough in advance and prepay with saver fare is available, you may even pay less than showing up at the terminal. Otherwise, reservations increase the cost of the trip, between increasing cost between $2.50 extra and $17, depending on which option you choose.
      • For ferries serving the Southern Gulf Island, reservations are free and are strongly recommended, especially in the summer.
      • Drivers must redeem their reservation at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes before the scheduled sailing or they lose their guarantee to be on the sailing and are given the same priority as anyone else showing up at the ferry terminal without a reservation.
    • Fare payment
      • Payment can be made by cash or credit card, and debit cards can be used at an automatic ticket terminal for foot passengers, but not on the ferry or at the vehicle toll booths.
    • Public transit
      • Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal is served by BC Transit on several routes including
        • Route 70, a limited stop bus route connecting to downtown Victoria via Sidney
        • Route 72, a bus route connecting to downtown Victoria via Sidney
        • Route 81, a bus route connecting to Butchart Gardens (in Brentwood) via Sidney
      • TransLink's bus route 620 operates limited stop service between Bridgeport station (SkyTrain Canada Line) in Richmond and the ferry terminal via Ladner Exchange in Delta.
      • Saltspring Island (Vesuvius) ferry terminal is served by BC Transit by bus route 3, which travels to the island's hamlet of Ganges
      • No other destination ferry terminals served from Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal have public transit.
    • Parking options
    • Amenities
      • Wi-Fi: Free service at the ferry terminal. Not offered on the ferries.
      • Washrooms: Available in the terminal and on board ferries.
      • Eating and shopping: A coffee shop is located within the terminal. A cafeteria style-restaurant and a gift shop are on board the ferries.

From Washington state in the United States of AmericaEdit

2 Washington State Ferries, 2499 Ocean Ave, Sidney (About 1 km south of downtown Sidney). Operates ferries connecting coastal British Columbia communities. Operates seasonal service (late March to late December) to Sidney connecting with Anacortes via Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The ferry makes one round trip per day in the Spring and Fall, and two round trips in the Summer. Reservations can be made online. For security and immigration processing when travelling between the two countries, a 60 minute advance arrival at the terminal is strongly suggested. Walk on passengers need to arrive 30 minutes in advance. Vehicle reservations are recommended. Passports are required to enter either country. Service to Sidney has been suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic and remains suspended due to a staffing shortage. it is hoped to resume in Summer 2023.

By carEdit

Sidney sits along Highway 17, which bisects the town from north to south. Highway 17 connects Victoria and Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal.

By planeEdit

Main airportEdit

DestinationsEdit

Direct flights to Victoria within Canada include from Calgary (1.5 hours), from Edmonton (1.5-2 hours), from Kelowna (1 hour), from Toronto (5-5.25 hours), and from Vancouver (30 minutes). Direct international flights to Victoria include from Seattle (45-50 minutes).

There are multiple flights from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, served mainly by smaller airlines and the regional subsidiaries of mainline carriers.

A number of daily flights depart from a few airline hubs the US west coast (namely Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco), as well as from smaller airports within Vancouver Island.

AirlinesEdit

Canadian airlines operating to Victoria:

Other airlines operating to Victoria:

Public transitEdit

  • BC Transit operates routes that enable travelers to reach Victoria International Airport.The following are key bus routes to enable travel to Sidney and Victoria:
    • Route 88 operates between the airport, McTavish Exchange, and downtown Sidney on a half hourly frequency from Monday to Friday, and an hourly frequency on Saturdays and Sundays.
    • Route 70 operates between Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal and downtown Victoria via downtown Sidney and McTavish Exchange. It is a limited stop service, which is faster than route 72.
    • Route 72 operates between Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry terminal and downtown Victoria via downtown Sidney and McTavish Exchange.

Other ground transportationEdit

Get aroundEdit

 
Map of Sidney (British Columbia)

Sidney is not a large place so most of its amenities can best be explored on foot. Park on one of the side streets and take to the sidewalks. It's much less frustrating than trying to battle the traffic in your car.

By public transitEdit

  • BC Transit (Victoria Regional Transit System), +1-250-382-6161. Runs a bus network within Victoria, between Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula including Sidney, and between Victoria and cities to the west including Langford and Sooke. Some notable bus routes:
    • 70 - Limited stop route between downtown Victoria and Swartz Bay ferry terminal with stops at McTavish Exchange and in downtown Sidney. Travel time to downtown Sidney from downtown Victoria is 45-50 minutes and from Swartz Bay ferry terminal is 10 minutes.
    • 72 - Route between downtown Victoria and Swartz Bay ferry terminal with stops at McTavish Exchange and in downtown Sidney. Travel time to downtown Sidney from downtown Victoria is 1 hour and from Swartz Bay ferry terminal is 15 minutes.
    • 81 - Route between Butchart Gardens and Swartz Bay ferry terminal with stops at McTavish Exchange and in downtown Sidney. Travel time to Butchart Gardens from downtown Sidney is 40 minutes and from Swartz Bay is 50 minutes.
    • 88 - Route between Sidney and Victoria International Airport with stops at McTavish Exchange and in downtown Sidney. Travel time between the airport and Sidney is 17 minutes. Travel time between the airport and McTavish Exchange is 4 minutes.

By taxiEdit

SeeEdit

  • 1 British Columbia Aviation Museum, 1910 Norseman Rd, +1 250 655-3300. May 1- Sep 30: daily 10AM-4PM; Oct 1 - Apr 30: daily 11AM-3PM. In Sidney on the north edge of the Victoria International Airport. Displays, artifacts, restored historical aircraft and an ongoing vintage aircraft restoration workshop. $10 adults, $8 seniors & youth, $4 children.    
  • 2 Fisherman's Wharf, End of Beacon Ave (go east on Beacon Ave to the end).
  • 3 Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, +1 250-654-4000, toll-free: +1-866-944-1744, . Includes Sidney Spit; other "Gulf Islands National Park Reserve" properties on Saturna, Mayne and Pender Islands can be accessed by BC Ferries, while the smaller islands of D'Arcy, Isle-de-Lis (Rum Island), Princess Margaret (Portland Island), Prevost, Russell, Cabbage and Tumbo can be best accessed by private watercraft or marine charter. Visit the islands for whale-watching, bird-watching, kayaking and scuba-diving.    
  • 4 Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, 9811 Seaport Place, +1 250 665-7511, . Winter/spring daily 10AM-4PM; summer 10AM-5PM. Adult $15; child $5.
  • 5 Sidney Museum and Archives, 2423 Beacon Ave, +1 250-655-6355, . Daily 10AM-4PM. Features displays about the history of the surrounding Peninsula, the natural history of the area, the First Nations, the railways on the Saanich Peninsula, and numerous temporary exhibits. By donation.

DoEdit

  • 1 Sidney Spit, toll-free: +1-866-944-1744. Accessed by private ferry. Sidney Spit also offers incredible opportunities for bird watching, as Sidney Island is a popular stop-over for migrating shorebirds. Visitors who wish to camp at Sidney Spit must be registered at a designated campsite before the last ferry leaves the island for the day. Please note that while there is water available on Sidney Spit, it contains high levels of sodium and may not be suitable for people with heart or kidney ailments.
  • 2 Emerald Sea Adventures, 9807 Seaport Place (in the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa), +1 250 893-6722. Whale watching and wildlife tours to see killer whales, humpback whales, porpoise, seals and bald eagles.
  • 3 Paddle in the Park Kayaking, 2320 Harbour Rd, +1 250 686-2047, .
  • 4 John Dean Provincial Park (Access Dean Park Rd from East Saanich Rd). 174 hectares of woodland with 6 km of hiking trails on top of Mt Newton; no vehicle access in winter.
  • 5 Shoal Harbour Bird Sanctuary. Bird watching. The adjoining Sidney Channel Important Bird Area is an internationally recognized site important to a variety of seabirds and waterfowl.

BuyEdit

  • Grocery stores in Sidney include: 1 Save-On Foods, 2 Thrifty Foods and the 3 Fairway Market.
  • Cameron Rose Gifts, 2447 Beacon Avenue, +1 250 656-8782.
  • [dead link] Emerald Sea Treasures, 9807 Seaport Place. Gift shop of local artisan pottery, woodwork, jewelry, paintings, photos and glassware.

EatEdit

  • 1 Beacon Landing Bar & Grill, 2537 Beacon Ave #107, +1 250 656-6690. 11AM-11PM.
  • 2 Boondocks Cafe, 9732 1 St, +1 250 656-4088. Family restaurant
  • 3 Fish on Fifth, 9812 5th Street (Beacon at Fifth), +1 250 656-4022. Specializes in fish & chips.
  • 4 [dead link] Hyland's Fish & Chips, 10153 Resthaven Dr, +1 250 656-4435. Tu-Su 11:30AM-10PM.
  • 5 Maria's Souvlaki, 9812 Second St, V8L 3C6, +1 250 656-9944. Greek cuisine.
  • 6 La Pignatta, 101, 2400 Bevan Ave (corner of 5th and Bevan), +1 250-665-6234. 8AM-3PM. A grab-n-go soup bar and lunch counter open Mon-Sat for breakfast and lunch, Selection of hot soups, salads, paninis, sandwiches and wraps; 10” Margherita pizza served Thu-Fri. Baked goods locally sourced from Irene’s Bakery and the Origin Gluten Free Bakery in Victoria. Beverages include Oughtred coffee (Victoria), Mighty Leaf tea, fresh fruit smoothies, Italian sodas and a full espresso bar. Wheelchair accessible, indoor and outdoor seating, takeaway.
  • 7 Sabhai Thai Restaurant, 2493 Beacon Avenue, +1 250 655-4085. Asian cuisine; reservations recommended.
  • 8 [dead link] Sidney Bakery, 2507 Beacon Ave, +1 250 656-1012. M-Sa 7AM-5:30PM; Su 9AM-5PM.

Only slightly further afield are other eating establishments worth trying...

  • 9 Blue's Bayou Café, 899 Marchant Rd, Brentwood Bay, +1 250 544-1194. May-Oct: M-Sa 11:30AM-9PM; closed Jan. New Orleans style Cajun/Creole food on the waterfront. lunch items from $11; dinner items from $15.

DrinkEdit

SleepEdit

ConnectEdit

Most restaurants, bars and hotels will have free Wi-Fi. Cell service is good.

Go nextEdit

The BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay is only a few kilometres from Sidney and offers frequent service to the Lower Mainland and the Southern Gulf Islands. The ferries themselves are attractions as well — on the Tsawwassen (Vancouver) route, the twin vessels Spirit of Vancouver Island and Spirit of British Columbia are the largest passenger ferries in North America.

Washington State Ferries runs regular ferry service between Sidney and Anacortes from a terminal on the southern outskirts of Sidney. Some runs stop in the San Juan Islands. The service does not run in winter.

Sidney is at one end of Vancouver Island and there is much to see as one travels north. Out on the Pacific Coast side of the Island is Pacific Rim National Park and the communities of Ucluelet and Tofino. At the northern end of Vancouver Island is Cape Scott Provincial Park, occupying a more remote and wilder part of the Island.

The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is a very worthwhile hiking route accessed through Sooke, not far from Victoria. The trail runs between Port Renfrew and Jordan River and can be done as a series of day trips or as a multi-day backpacking trip. This is a good choice if you want a marine hike without the logistical challenges of the West Coast Trail.

Routes through Sidney
Vancouver via  Delta ← ferry ←  N   S  VictoriaEND



This city travel guide to Sidney is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.