North Saanich, Vancouver Island Photo Province of BC
Sidney is situated on the Saanich Peninsula in Southern Vancouver Island that nudges out into the Salish Sea amid spectacular scenery. A seaside community and a boating haven this small coastal town attracts many to come and experience its year-round mild climate. Stroll along walkways by the water, check out the galleries, charming boutiques and more. Nearby Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site, has acres of stunning floral displays amid spectacular views. The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney is a world-class interactive aquarium. Hundreds of fish, invertebrates and marine plants recreate the ocean environment and give an underwater view that most people never experience. Enjoy old planes? The British Columbia Aviation Museum is located close by and is dedicated to preserving aircraft and artifacts.
Many outdoor adventures start here. This includes, diving, fishing excursions, and whale watching tours. Hiking is popular and there are many trails for all levels of activity. A hike along the Galloping Goose Trail is relatively flat as it is built along an old rail bed. This 55 km (34 mi) trail is accessible from various points. The north leg of the trail connects with the Lochside Regional Trail, a 29 km (18 mi) route that winds its way from Victoria through the Saanich Peninsula to Sidney and Swartz Bay.
Located along Hwy 17 at the northern end of the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island just south of Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal and east of Victoria International Airport. The town is also a port-of-call for the Washington State Ferry, with ferries running from Sidney to Anacortes, Washington. It is also close to the nearby community of Saanichton and within an easy drive of Victoria, BC’s capital.
Historically, Sidney was a small farming community and the location of Vancouver Island’s first flour mill. The heavily wooded forests of the region soon fostered sawmills and a thriving lumber industry.
The Saanich People have lived on the Saanich Peninsula for thousands of years prior to contact with Europeans. The Hudson’s Bay Company obtained large tracts of forested lands from the Saanich People in 1852. James Douglas purchased much of the land in North Saanich in 1858, and one year later William and Charles Reay became the first settlers on the northern portion of the Saanich Peninsula when they purchased land from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Some of this land is now the town of Sidney, incorporated as a village on 30th September 1952.
Sidney takes its name from nearby Sidney Channel and Sidney Island (originally known as Sallas Island). Captain Richards of the survey ship Plumper renamed it Sidney Island in 1859, after Fredrick William Sidney (later captain), also a member of the Royal Navy.