Greater Victoria has a population of 380,000 yet here on the Saanich Peninsula there is tranquillity among the hills and lakes, fruit and hobby farms. Often our guests first words are ‘What a lovely spot!’.
The Saanich Peninsula is a neck of land on the south east coast of Vancouver Island, measuring about 30km (19 miles) from north to south. At the northern end lies Swartz Bay, the terminal for BC Ferries. Just south of this is the pleasant town of Sidney. South of this are the gentle rolling pastoral scenes typical of the peninsula until you pass Elk Lake to reach the suburbs of Victoria at the southern end.
The Butchart Gardens (below left) is on the west of the Peninsula at Brentwood Bay, as is Butterfly Gardens. Saanich Commonwealth Place and Matticks Farm are nearby.
Butterfly Gardens (above right) is a tropical paradise to stroll amongst hundreds of fluttering butterflies and moths. There are also over 60 birds, tortoises and frogs too. Summer evenings after 1st May are illuminated, open until 9pm. Enjoy their video:
- - - - - - -
Sidney-by-the-Sea, or plain Sidney to the locals, is the charming booktown on the northern part of the Saanich Peninsula, a gateway to Victoria and Vancouver Island in BC, Canada. It is well worth a visit, perhaps combined with visiting gardens and wineries on the Saanich Peninsula.
Sidney Attractions and Activities
The town is close to the BC Ferries and Washington State Ferries terminals and to Victoria International Airport and has numerous marinas. Consequently it is quite a busy town yet it has a slow relaxed atmosphere. Its population of under 12,000 includes many seniors who enjoy the mild climate, pedestrian-friendly Beacon Avenue with its shops, galleries and restaurants and an amble on its waterfront and fishing pier.
For visitors Sidney really does offer a wide range of activities:
Take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the town.
Glen Meadows Golf Club or Ardmore Golf Course.
Go on an air tour by plane or helicopter.
Sidney is Canada's first Booktown - about ten specialty stores close together.
Browse through gift shops and art galleries.
Watch the world go by from a coffeee shop.
Find a restaurant or pub for lunch or dinner.
Sidney Museum focusses on whales.
BC Aviation Museum - originals and replicas of the past century.
Saanich Historical Artifacts Society is an outdoor heritage museum over nearly 30 acres.
Take the 15 minute ferry trip to Sidney Spit, a small uninhabited island.
Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, www.oceandiscovery.ca.
Mineral World and Scratch Patch - sea shells and semi-precious gems and minerals.
Go on a sea cruise around the nearby islands and the harbour.
Salt-water fishing, especially for salmon, and crabbing.
Explore the coves by kayak.
Dive to explore wrecks.
Potter around a marina.
The large bustling Sidney Summer Market on Beacon Avenue each summer Thursday evening (see above photo).
Music at the Centennial Bandstand on Sunday afternoons in July and August.