So close to Victoria, yet a community all its own, Sidney and the Saanich Peninsula are must-visit destinations for Island visitors.
The seaside town of Sidney is the largest community on the Saanich Peninsula, just a few minutes from the BC Ferries terminal or about 30 minutes from downtown Victoria along Highway 17.
Beacon Avenue is the heart of Sidney, lined with colourful flower displays, benches, public art and a delightful array of unique local boutiques, art galleries, and dining diversions. Follow Beacon to the waterfront to enjoy beautiful ocean views, the Sidney Sculpture Walk and the Port Sidney Marina, a full-service facility attracting boaters and visitors in search of adventures such as whale watching, kayak rentals, scuba diving and fishing charters.
At the Sidney pier, you’ll also see the seasonal passenger ferry to Sidney Spit, popular for birdwatching and sandcastle building.
Stretching south from Sidney to Victoria, the Saanich Peninsula is a picturesque, largely rural region of farms, parkland and waterfront. Highway 17 is the fastest route into Victoria, but sightseers will want to take one of the earlier exits to explore the quaint communities and quiet country roads.
Neighbourhoods along the way include Brentwood Bay, Saanichton and Cordova Bay, with attractions including the world-famous Butchart Gardens, V
The region is also home to a thriving agritourism industry, with a variety of farms, markets and award-winning wineries. Come enjoy the flavours of Vancouver Island!
ictoria Butterfly Gardens, BC Aviation Museum and Heritage Acres.
Outdoor enthusiasts will want to explore Island View Beach, a popular sunbathing, beachcombing and bird-watching spot, and John Dean Provincial Park, a hit with hikers and wildlife enthusiasts.
For watersports, including paddling, fishing and swimming, Prospect, Elk and Beaver lakes are favourites. For golfers, the Cordova Bay Golf Course is an exceptional 18-hole championship course, while across the road is the family-friendly Par 3 boasting spectacular views over the strait. Don’t miss visiting the nearby Mattick’s Farm, a charming collection of shops, cafés and more!
- Population: 11,849
- A 20-minute drive from the world-famous 55-acre Butchart Garden
- Sidney is known as Canada’s book town where 12 bookstores are all within walking distance of each other
- Home to Vancouver Island’s first flour mill as Sidney was a small farming community
The Saanich Peninsula offers a warm and temperate climate with year-round mild temperatures, low rainfall, and little snow.
Destination BC is developing a new campaign to promote hyper-local travel where residents are “tourists-in-their own hometown,” while practising the COVID-19 safety protocols as recommended by the B.C. Provincial Health Officer. Many B.C. parks are now open, and national parks were to open as of June 1.
(Check this website for current details on travel.)
Vehicle: From Victoria, Sidney is about 25 minutes by taking Hwy/BC-17.
Flying: Victoria International Airport is only five minutes away. There’s also the option to take a seaplane with Harbour Air.
Ferries: BC Ferries provides service between Swartz Bay, and the Lower Mainland and to the Gulf Islands. Ferries from Anacortes, WA can also be taken to/from Sidney.
Transit: From Douglas at Pandora in Victoria take BC Transit to Sidney’s Fifth at Beacon-Sidney Town Centre stop
For more visit WestCoastTraveller or Peninsula News Review