Set amidst the natural beauty and unspoiled charm of the Saanich Peninsula, the vibrant community of Sidney-by-the-Sea is the gateway to the BC Gulf Islands and the US San Juan Islands. This bustling commercial hub of the Saanich Peninsula is blessed with majestic views of the ocean, the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. Sidney is a tourist's dream - a friendly port with modern marinas and a multitude of unique galleries, gift stores, antique shops, restaurants, bakeries and coffee bars.
Sidney-by-the-Sea appeals to those who enjoy both seafaring excursions and land-based adventures. There are many inlets and nearby islands, 3 km of public accessible waterfront - including many beaches and great beachcombing - and several interesting attractions in and around this pretty little resort town. Sidney enjoys a moderate Mediterranean type climate with year-round mild temperatures, low rainfall and very little snow.
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. The Saanich People knew the site as Tseteenus, meaning 'sticking out'.
Sidney is ideally situated close to all the major arrival points to South Vancouver Island. By Air, visitors arrive at Victoria International Airport, which is only 5 minutes away. BC Ferries provides year-round service to and from Swartz Bay, immediately north of Sidney. Sidney is also the departure point for pleasure craft sailings and ferry traffic heading to the San Juan Islands and Washington State in the United States.
Location: Sidney is located on the Saanich Peninsula at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, just east of the Pat Bay Highway 17, five minutes south of the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal and just 16 miles (26 km) north of Victoria.