Sidney (British Columbia)
By car & ferry
The main arrival point for most visitors is at the BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay, just a few kilometers from Sidney. This terminal provides the main connection to the mainland at Tsawwassen, just south of Vancouver.
Sidney is also served on a seasonal basis by Washington State Ferries with connections to the San Juan Islands and Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. 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. Please speak with Washington State Department of Transportation Information Agents in Seattle tollfree on +1-888-808-7977 or reserve online. Passports are required to enter either country.
Victoria International airport is just minutes from Sidney and is served by several regularly scheduled airlines including:
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.
If your activities take you outside Sidney, BC Transit has service throughout the Greater Victoria region including Sidney.
- Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. 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.
- Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, 9811 Seaport Place, ☎ +1 250 665-7511, e-mail: email@example.com. Winter/Spring daily 10:00-16:00; Summer 10:00-17:00. Adult $15; Child $5.
- Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, ☎ +1 250 652-5256, toll-free: +1-866-652-4422, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Varies by season: generally 09:00-17:00 but until 22:00 in summer. Starting at $25 depending on the season.
- British Columbia Aviation Museum, 1910 Norseman Rd, ☎ +1 250 655-3300. 1 May-30 Sep 10:00-16:00; 1 Oct-30 Apr 11:00-15:00. $10.
- 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.
- 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.
- Paddle in the Park Kayaking, 2320 Harbour Rd, ☎ +1 250 686-2047, e-mail: email@example.com.
- 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.
- Shoal Harbour Bird Sanctuary. Bird watching
- Grocery stores in Sidney include: Canada Safeway, Thrifty Foods and the Fairway Market.
- Cameron Rose Gifts, 2447 Beacon Avenue, ☎ +1 250 656-8782.
- Emerald Sea Treasures, 9807 Seaport Place. Gift shop of local artisan pottery, woodwork, jewelry, paintings, photos and glassware.
- Beacon Landing Bar & Grill, 2537 Beacon Ave #107, ☎ +1 250 656-6690. 11:00-23:00.
- Boondocks Cafe, 9732 1 St, ☎ +1 250 656-4088. Family restaurant
- Fish on Fifth, 9812 5th Street (Beacon at Fifth), ☎ +1 250 656-4022. Specializes in Fish & Chips.
- Hyland's Fish & Chips, 10153 Resthaven Dr, ☎ +1 250 656-4435. Tu-Su 11:30-20:00.
- Maria's Souvlaki, 9812 Second St, V8L 3C6, ☎ +1 250 656-9944. Greek cuisine.
- Pier One Rstaurant, 2500 Beacon Ave, ☎ +1 250 656-1224. Seafood and Greek cuisine.
- Sabhai Thai Restaurant, 2493 Beacon Avenue, ☎ +1 250 655-4085. Asian cuisine; reservations recommended.
- Sidney Bakery, 2507 Beacon Ave, ☎ +1 250 656-1012. M-Sa 07:00-17:30; Su 09:00-17:00.
Only slightly further afield are other eating establishments worth trying...
- Blue's Bayou Café, 899 Marchant Rd, Brentwood Bay, ☎ +1 250 544-1194. May-Oct M-Sa 11:30-21:00; closed Jan. New Orleans style Cajun/Creole food on the waterfront. lunch items from $11; dinner items from $15.
- Starbucks, 2471 Beacon, ☎ +1 250 655-0949.
- Best Western Plus Emerald Isle Motor Inn Hotel, 2306 Beacon Ave, V8L 1X2, ☎ +1 250 656-4441. Convenient location to BC Ferries, Washington State Ferry Terminal, Victoria International Airport, and Greater Victoria Area.
- Macdonald Campground, 10740 Macdonald Park Rd, North Saanich, toll-free: +1-877-737-3783. Just minutes from the BC Ferries terminal; a good base to start exploring Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
- Travelodge Victoria Airport, 2280 Beacon Ave, ☎ +1 250 656-1176.
- Quality Inn Waddling Dog, 2476 Mt Newton Cross Rd, ☎ +1 250 652-1146, toll-free: +1-800-567-8466, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Accommodation; includes an attached pub and restaurant; free Wi-Fi.
- Super 8 Saanichton Victoria Airport, 2477 Mt Newton Cross Rd, ☎ +1 250 652-6888, e-mail: email@example.com.
Most restaurants, bars and hotels will have free Wi-Fi. Cell service is good.
- Vancouver Island Regional Library, 10091 Resthaven Dr, ☎ +1 250 656-0944. Free Wi-Fi available here.
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||→ Saanich → Victoria|