Sidney, also known as Sidney-by-the-Sea, is a bustling town located on the northeastern coast of the Saanich Peninsula, just 26 km north of Victoria. It serves as the commercial hub of the peninsula and a gateway to the US.
Initially, Sidney was a small village that served local farms. However, the establishment of an air force base and training station during World War II, where the Victoria International Airport now stands, brought about an influx of people and helped the town grow. Today, Sidney has a robust economy, with the tourism industry and a growing technology sector being among the major employers.
Sidney’s pedestrian-friendly streets and scenic shorelines make it a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Additionally, its close proximity to Victoria, which offers a myriad of amenities, makes it desirable for both tourists and retirees.
Sidney is also Canada’s first Booktown, boasting over a dozen unique bookstores within walking distance of each other. Local artist and artisan shops are also abundant.
During the summer, a street market is held every Thursday evening from June through August. Over 200 vendors come to sell their wares, including fresh local produce, hand-made crafts, and tasty food. The charming tradition takes place on Beacon Avenue, which is closed to vehicular traffic to make room for the displays.
Sidney’s moderate climate and quaint atmosphere make it a top choice for retirees. Consequently, the town has seen a boom in the construction of condos, townhomes, and waterfront properties. The Salish Sea is one of Sidney’s most popular features, and residents and tourists alike can enjoy the beautiful oceanfront views.
The RCMP provides policing services in Sidney, while the fire department is staffed by both career and volunteer firefighters. Water and sewer services are available throughout the town, and a recycling program is provided by the Capital Regional District (CRD) through a blue box program. Garbage collection is handled by a private company.
Sidney’s laidback atmosphere and seaside location, coupled with its cool Mediterranean climate, make it a beautiful place to visit or call home.
Sidney Sub-Area Attraction Pages:
Victoria International Airport
Victoria International Airport is more than just a place to catch a flight. Located about 25 km north of Victoria, this airport is recognized as the number one airport in North America for Service Quality by the Airports Council International. The airport offers a wide range of services to make your travel experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
Services at Victoria International Airport
- Bicycle storage: The airport provides a secure place for bicycles on the east side of the short-term parking lot. Cyclists can access these storage lockers, as well as a basic bike tool kit, at the Airport Security Building just east of the terminal building for only $2.00 a day.
- Red Coat Information Desk: A group of dedicated volunteers act as Airport Ambassadors, greeting travelers, offering directions and local information. They are available from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the summer months, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can find them across from the car rental counters in the arrivals area.
- Lost & Found: Any items found inside or outside the terminal, as well as in the parking areas, are brought to the Airport Security Office just east of the main terminal building. For information on an item you may have lost, you can contact them directly at 250.953.7511 and items can be claimed between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. each day.
- NEXUS: A dedicated fast-track security lane for passengers that have been pre-cleared as trusted travelers. The cost for a NEXUS card is $50.00 Canadian and $50.00 US dollars. Once approved, your membership is valid for 5 years. A NEXUS application can be filled out online or in hard copy.
- Pet Relief Area: The airport provides two separate areas for service animals, both located directly across from the air terminal building. They have waste bags and receptacles available.
Transportation to and from the airport is convenient and easily accessible, including car rentals, taxi and shuttle services, and public transportation provided by BC Transit.
Food and Shopping Options at Victoria International Airport
- Spinnakers On the Fly (Post Security)
- LS Travel Retail North America (Pre Security)
- Starbucks coffee (Pre Security)
- Tim Horton’s (Pre Security)
Parking at Victoria International Airport is affordable and includes strategically located charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles. Short-term parkers who spend $10.00 at any airport food outlet will receive the $1.00 cost of parking taken off their bill.
Attractions Near Victoria International Airport
Located next to the airport is the BC Aviation Museum, a major attraction on Vancouver Island. The museum displays amazing artifacts from wars fought by Canadian soldiers in the Memorial room, including the Royal Flying Corps, Canadian Air force, and the Royal Air Force.
Victoria International Airport’s website also has a comprehensive contact list that is helpful when specific information cannot be found on the website.
If you’re flying out of Victoria International Airport, make sure to check out all the services, attractions, and amenities available to make your travel experience a pleasant one.
Tulista Park in Sidney is the perfect spot to spend the day with family and friends. You will find everything you need to relax, have a picnic lunch and just enjoy the day. The amenities at the Park include:
- Free parking
- Wheelchair-accessible washrooms
- Picnic shelter with barbecue
- Plenty of picnic tables and benches
- Boat launch
After having a picnic lunch, take a stroll along the Lochside Walkway, also known as the Lochside Regional Trail, located just south of the park. Recent upgrades have made Tulista’s Walkway scooter-friendly, allowing visitors to travel as far south as the North Saanich border.
While you’re at the park, don’t forget to check out the Community Arts Centre on 5th Street. This Arts Centre supports a range of events, such as:
- Spring and fall studio tours
- Artisan shows with art pieces for sale
- School programs
- Workshops, lectures, and more
Tulista Park is also home to a boat launch, open to both private and commercial users. Parking for the boat launch is limited and operates on a first-come-first-served basis, with a fee to launch your boat. Launch fees vary depending on the length of time requested. When parking your vehicle for the boat launch, it’s essential to purchase a launch pass for the appropriate amount of time. There is also a maximum of 72 hours for parking a vehicle. You can purchase a launch pass from a machine right at the boat launch, with credit cards and coins accepted for payment. If it’s your first time at the Tulista Boat Launch, it’s recommended that you visit their site online for more detailed information.
Kayakers are welcome at the boat launch, where there are signs pointing to designated spots for vehicles with roof-mounted vessels. Once again, it’s best to refer to the Tulista Boat Launch site if you’re unfamiliar with fees and parking.
Whether you’re planning to spend the day on the beach, taking in the sights along the Walkway, visiting the Art Centre, or organizing an all-day picnic, Tulista Park is sure to fit the bill. Parents with toddlers will appreciate the fenced playground. There’s even water outside the playground where your dog can take a refreshing drink.
Make sure you explore this wonderful park in Sidney and enjoy the sounds and sights of the ocean-side beach, the scenery along the Walkway, and even take in some culture at the Community Arts Centre. Whether you’re spending the day with family and friends or taking time to relax on your own, your first trip to Tulista Park will have you coming back for more.
Sidney Street Market
For the past 17 years, every Thursday night from June to August, Sidney’s Beacon Street has been transformed into a lively and vibrant street market. The town’s charming main street is closed to traffic and has grown into one of B.C.’s most popular and festive street markets.
With up to 5,000 visitors a night and more than 150 vendors offering homemade goods, local artisan jewelry, fresh area produce, flowers, clothing, and more, it’s little wonder that residents and tourists alike have made this a must-do activity all summer long. A host of musical performers help create a fun and family-friendly atmosphere where everyone can soak up the sounds and sights while supporting local businesses, farmers, and artisans.
The market is free to attend and has a fabulous lineup of vendors and performers along with entertainment for all ages. The scent of fresh food fills the air and no one can resist sampling things like:
- Fresh donuts being baked
- Homemade fudge for sweet lovers
- Freshly baked salmon burgers handed out to passers-by
Every week people flock to the market to visit their favorite vendors and to check out who might be new that year. Putting together such a popular market from year to year is no easy task. Organizers have, from the beginning, been able to include both vendors and performers that complement one another and add their personal flair to create a fun and festive atmosphere.
Get a glimpse of just what you can expect to see and do at the Sidney Street Market by scrolling down to view some magnificent photos of the market and all it has to offer. Find out all you need to know about the Sidney Street Market by visiting them on Facebook at facebook.com/SidneyStreetMarket.
Are you a local artisan, farmer, crafter, or performer interested in participating in the festivities? If so, simply submit an inquiry by email for consideration. There are specific guidelines for doing so, and all requests must include:
- A detailed description of your item or product
- Whether or not your products are made by you
- A photo that represents what you sell
- Any previous experience you have with markets and some personal history
Then simply submit your inquiry to the current organizer. Join the visitors and residents of this lovely seaside village and learn why the Market, as well as the town of Sidney, has become such a memorable place to live, work, and play in. The Market is not only a fun activity for the whole family but is a great way to understand just what this beautiful seaside community is all about.
Sidney Spit Marine Park
Sidney Spit Marine Park, located on the north end of Sidney Island, is a hidden gem within the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Although only accessible by water, it is easy to get there by foot passenger ferry service from May to September, or by private boat.
For guests arriving by private boat, mooring buoys are available with specific restrictions, including one boat per buoy, vessel size restrictions (printed directly on buoys), and mooring fees in effect from May 15 to September 30. Dock space is available for visitors staying overnight during the season for a fee, but is free for dinghies.
The Park, which spans over 400 hectares, features a long sandy spit and adjacent lagoon, and is home to a variety of wildlife, including a vital shorebird habitat where visitors can see flocks of Brant Geese, Heerman’s Gulls, and scores of Rhinoceros Auklets. A walk through the forests of the area may also provide a glimpse of some fallow deer that call the area home.
The campgrounds at Sidney Spit Marine Park offer an amazing ‘nature experience’. The 30 walk-in sites are easy to get to from the federal dock and provide all the amenities campers will need. The Park’s pristine white sand makes for some of the most comfortable spots to pitch a tent. If you plan to camp here, it’s important to note that registration at a designated campsite is required.
As part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Sidney Spit Marine Park protects a portion of B.C.’s southern Gulf Islands, including numerous tide pools along the shoreline, hills of vibrant forests, and rocky headlands.
Whether your plans include spending the day picnicking on one of the beaches or camping for several nights, you will have to make sure you bring everything you need with you, as there are no stores or shops. In order to maintain the Park in pristine condition, visitors are required to take away whatever they bring in.
For those planning a group camping trip to Sidney Spit Marine Park, reservations are required, which can be made by contacting the park directly at:
- Phone: 250.654.4000
- Toll Free: 1.866.944.1744
- E-mail: [email protected]
Stroll along the beach, picnic along the shore, hike in the forests, or just soak up the nature that surrounds you through Spit Marine Park. Whatever your plans are, you will soon feel like you are lost in time and rejuvenated with daily stresses simply washed away. It’s the perfect place to spend the day with friends and family or to get away for a while on your own.
Sidney Pier is a magnificent waterfront walkway in southern Vancouver Island that stretches approximately 2.5 km along the oceanfront. The walkway features beautiful gardens, benches, and picnic tables where visitors can relax and enjoy the stunning views of Mount Baker, Sidney Island, and more.
Explore the following attractions along the way:
- Port Sidney Marina: With 13,494 feet of lineal dock space, this marina accommodates boats up to 138 feet and welcomes boaters from all across North America. They offer annual, monthly, and transient moorage.
- Beacon Park: Take a leisurely stroll along the brick walkways and enjoy the numerous public art pieces while taking in breathtaking waterfront scenery.
- Diver’s Beach: Vancouver Island is known as one of the best cold-water diving locations worldwide, and Diver’s Beach is a must-visit for all divers. Explore wrecks such as HMCS Mackenzie and GB Church.
- Eastview Park: Located adjacent to the Bevan Fishing Pier, Eastview Park offers a magnificent view of the ocean and provides picnic tables and benches for relaxing or bringing along a picnic lunch.
With recent upgrades along the entire Lochside Drive walkway, visitors will appreciate ample parking that’s just a short walk to the beach. Enjoy a picnic lunch while you watch harbour seals, bald eagles, and California sea lions in their natural habitat.
Visitors can also park at Tulista Park and stroll along the seaside walkway to picturesque downtown Sidney. This is a popular spot where you can walk along Glass Beach or go fishing and crabbing during the summer months.
The Sidney Pier also offers visitors a fascinating cultural experience along its Sculpture Walk. With the amazing backdrop of the Salish Sea and Mount Baker, this outdoor gallery showcases an eclectic mix of art crafted by a host of talented artists.
The Sidney Pier is a popular tourist destination that offers a number of inns and restaurants from cozy and casual to the luxury of the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa. Just minutes from the BC and Washington State Ferry terminals and the Victoria Airport, visitors will experience true pampering. Whether you are planning a business trip or a vacation, be sure to check out their Signature Suite with panoramic ocean views, extensive spa packages, coffee shop, or Haro’s Restaurant.
The Pier Bistro is the perfect spot to gather with friends for breakfast, lunch, or dinner while enjoying the breathtaking views of the oceanfront. The Bistro is wheelchair-friendly, and guests can park right on the Pier.
Whether you are planning an unforgettable family vacation, a relaxing day trip, or a romantic getaway, there is no shortage of things to see and do at Sidney Pier. From getting together with friends at one of the many eateries along the pier to taking in the breathtaking gardens and ocean views to a picnic on the beach, the Sidney Pier is a must-visit for anyone traveling to southern Vancouver Island.
The Sidney Museum and Archives has been preserving local treasures and historical artifacts since 1971. With over 7,000 artifacts on display, the Museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone in the Sidney area. Admission is by donation, making it an affordable activity for the whole family.
The Museum is located on Beacon Avenue and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In addition to permanent exhibits, the Museum also features temporary displays that are changed monthly. From teddy bear and quilting exhibits to Canadian banknotes and calligraphy, there is always something new to see. The very popular 3-month LEGO exhibit is a must-see for LEGO enthusiasts of all ages.
Some of the temporary exhibits at the Museum include:
- Paper Pages & Books – an exhibit featuring paper making and decoration, binding and box making.
- Celebrating with Fibre
- Teddy Bears
Visitors can also take a trip back through time and visit some of the ‘room’ displays, such as:
- The Kitchen – featuring a wood fired oven, old vacuum cleaner, and utensils that might be a challenge to identify.
- The School Room – recalling memories of old-fashioned wooden desks and pens that always seemed to stain your paper.
- Critchley’s Store – a recreation of a vibrant general store that stood on Beacon Avenue, complete with the original post office wicket.
School children from kindergarten to grade four and higher can take part in tours designed for their specific age groups. Each tour lasts approximately one hour, and all school trips must be booked in advance. The cost is only $2.00 per child, with a minimum of 10 students per tour. Requesting a school tour is easy – simply fill out the form located at the bottom of their School Tours page.
In association with the Museum is the Sidney Archives, located at the back of the Town Hall on Sidney Avenue. The archives contain fascinating material pertaining to the history of Sidney and the Saanich Peninsula dating back to 1850. Visitors can view historic photographs, textual records, cartographic materials, and more. The Sidney Archives is available for viewing by appointment only, and times can be arranged by contacting them directly by phone at 250.655.5445 or by email at [email protected]
To keep up-to-date with what’s going on at the Museum, check out their newsletter. For information on upcoming exhibits, scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of events.
Sidney, a beautiful seaside town on Vancouver Island, is home to the Peninsula Gallery. This gallery is not only famous for its breathtaking beauty but also for the many parks, waterfront walkways, beaches, locals and business owners who call this gem home.
The Gallery showcases quality sculptures and paintings in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, and is also a retail gallery where visitors can purchase pieces they have fallen in love with. The gallery boasts a wide array of mediums used by the artists, with a large number of original acrylic and oil paintings, wood and soapstone, as well as sculptures in bronze. Prices for works are in line with other galleries, with the exception being works that have been, or requested to be, personally framed at the Peninsula Gallery.
Custom Framing at the Peninsula Gallery
The Peninsula Gallery is happy to create custom framing to enhance and protect your art piece. The Gallery’s framing specialist will help you choose from their extensive selection of frames and materials.
Location and Transportation
The Peninsula Gallery is conveniently located via multiple means of transport. It is close to Victoria International Airport as well as B.C. Ferry’s Schwartz Bay and Sidney/Anacortes terminals. From the airport buses will take you right to Sidney. If traveling by ferry, simply select the location you are coming from. By car, it will take about 30 minutes from Victoria and 15 minutes from Butchart Gardens.
Gallery Hours and Contact Information
Before visiting the Gallery, let the anticipation build by taking a peak at some of the amazing shows that are on display. From works in stone by Kristina Boardman to wood engravings on rice paper by Hongwei Yang, a top contemporary Chinese artist, and so many more. Even if you have never been to an art gallery, make a point of visiting the Peninsula Gallery. The staff is extremely welcoming and knowledgeable. They have managed to create a space that makes all who visit feel welcome and at home. The Gallery is also wheelchair accessible with plenty of parking behind the building.
- Gallery Hours: Monday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., closed on July 31 and August 1 for BC Family Day.
- Phone: 250.655.1282 or Toll Free at: 877.787.1896
- Street Address: 100-2506 Beacon Avenue; Sidney, BC
Visit the Peninsula Gallery and experience art like never before in a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere!
Mineral World in Sidney-by-the-Sea on Vancouver Island is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in crystals, jewelry, fossils, and unique giftware. The center sits atop a hill, overlooking the sea, and boasts a beautiful glass-filled building that offers a perfect spot to view a wide array of semi-precious gemstones and jewelry.
Mineral World’s Interpretive Centre is full of minerals, crystals, fossils, and rocks that offer an amazing experience for young and old alike. These displays provide a great opportunity to get hands-on and interact with the pieces being showcased. The center also offers a chance to get a better understanding of densities by lifting a standard Reserve Bank gold bar, weighing in at 400 troy ounces. Visitors can also solve the puzzle of why some rocks can float.
Admission to the Scratch Patch and the Interpretive Centre is free. Visitors can purchase a collector’s bag for $6.00, $8.00, or $10.00 and collect gemstones or shells. Panning for gold costs $3.00/person and includes a small plastic vial.
Hours of Operation
Mineral World is open 364 days a year, with the following hours of operation:
- Monday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Mineral World is easy to get to and close to Victoria International Airport as well as to 3 ferries. Whether you are traveling by car, ferry, coming from the airport, or using public transportation, visit Mineral World’s “how to get there” page for easy-to-follow directions and maps.
Gemstones on Display
The center displays a variety of semi-precious gemstones, including:
- Amber – the Baltic’s golden gem
- Rhodonite – a beautiful pink gemstone that can be found right on Vancouver Island
- Jade – British Columbia’s provincial gemstone
- Malachite – all the way from Africa’s dark center
School Tours and Birthday Parties
The Interpretive Centre also offers fun and interactive learning experiences for school groups. Highly trained staff lead all school groups to ensure each child has the best opportunity to have fun and learn all about the rocks and gems that make up our planet. The tours include both an introductory and an intermediate session.
Booking a child’s birthday party is another great way to have fun and learn about gems, fossils, rocks, and more. For the best experience, Mineral World recommends bookings for children between 6 and 12 years of age with a duration of 60 to 90 minutes. The cost is $10.00 per child (plus tax). The party includes story time, hunting for gemstones, and being creative.
Mineral World is a paradise for people of all ages, offering something for everyone. From admiring the beauty of these gems and rocks to purchasing unique pieces of jewelry, to learning obscure facts like why some rocks can float, Mineral World is a place where people find themselves coming back to time and again.
Mary Winspear Centre
The Mary Winspear Centre, located in Sidney, BC, is an ideal location for cultural and artistic events, as well as small and large business meetings and conferences. The centre’s breathtaking scenery, plush grounds, and dedicated staff ensure that no detail of your big day will be overlooked. People from all over the world come to the Centre to plan business meetings, conferences, weddings, and take part in some of the most renowned exhibitions.
Conveniently located just minutes from Victoria International Airport, the BC ferries, and the Washington State Ferry Terminal, the Mary Winspear Centre is known for its natural beauty and picturesque seaside landscape.
Function and Meeting Rooms
Whatever the size of your next function, the professional staff at the Centre will work with you to understand your needs and help you plan an event that will be second to none. They have a wide array of function and meeting rooms to suit every need, including:
- Bodine Family Hall: This hall measures 8,100 square feet and can easily accommodate up to 900 guests. The 18-foot vaulted ceilings with wooden beams, state-of-the-art lighting and sound system, and a pristine outdoor courtyard make this hall sheer opulence at its best.
- Myfanwy Pavelic Gallery: The gallery is the perfect spot for your next reception or exhibition event. At 2,000 square feet, guests will appreciate its open brightness while enjoying the Gallery’s showcased displays along with some refreshments.
- Lebbetter Board Room: Guests attending smaller executive meetings can conduct business in the comfort of meticulously appointed furniture complete with AV equipment in this 405 square foot venue that boasts 8-foot ceilings.
- Additional Break-out Rooms: The Centre also provides additional break-out rooms for smaller gatherings ranging from 405 to 2,170 square feet. All rooms have bright natural lighting, professionally designed floor and wall accents, and come equipped with wet bars and exterior door entrances.
While staying at the Mary Winspear Centre, be sure to take time to explore their magnificent grounds and area attractions. The main street of Sidney offers a quaint one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Visitors can browse one of the many unique clothing boutiques, unusual finds at home décor shops, and even a number of new and used book stores.
Make sure to take some time to do a little sightseeing in the area as well. From a leisurely stroll through the world-renowned Butchart Gardens or the Butterfly Gardens to a more adventurous experience taking in a whale watching guided tour where you can see otters, porpoises, orca whales, sea lions and more. For those who revel in the outdoors, there is plenty to see and do as well. Guests will enjoy hiking trails, regional parks, beaches with awe-inspiring views, and so much more.
The staff at Mary Winspear Centre is dedicated to making your next function a perfect one. They offer a host of services to ensure that your every need is met, including:
- Taking the time to listen to your needs and making suggestions that will fulfill those needs
- Providing box office and usher services for ticketed events
- Connecting you with local hotels
- Providing contacts for local caterers, entertainers, and event production/decoration professionals
- And of course, anything else that will ensure the success of your next event.
The Mary Winspear Centre and the town of Sidney look forward to being a part of your next wedding, business function or any event that you may be considering. Both the Centre and Sidney offer a multitude of activities for guests of all ages. Contact the Mary Winspear Centre today to start planning your next unforgettable event.
Lochside Regional Trail
Formerly a railway line, the Lochside Regional Trail is now a picturesque multi-use trail that stretches for 29km. It’s accessible 24/7 and meanders through Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich, and Victoria, making it a popular destination for those looking for a leisurely stroll, cycling, or horseback riding. With plenty to see and do along the trail, it’s easy to make a day of your walk or hike by bringing along a picnic lunch and stopping by one of the nearby sandy beaches to take in the magnificent ocean views.
Getting to the Trail
There are several ways to get to the Lochside Regional Trail, including:
- From Swartz Bay – Follow the well-marked signs to Lochside Regional Trail
- From downtown Victoria – Follow the Galloping Goose Regional Trail from Victoria to Switch Bridge in Saanich. Turn right and follow the Lochside Trail north toward Sidney/Swartz Bay
- BC Ferries – Foot passengers can take a left at the Landsend Road overpass and right onto the trail
- Public Transportation – The #70 BC Transit bus that runs from Victoria to Swartz Bay stops at a number of locations along the Trail
Planning Your Trip
For those who might be unfamiliar with the trail, it’s easy to plan your route with a detailed map of the Lochside Regional Trail. It might also be a good idea to take a printed copy along with you. There are public washrooms (in the form of an outhouse) near the halfway mark between Sidney and Victoria. This is also a good place to stop for your picnic lunch and have a little rest before carrying on.
Popular Stops Along the Trail
Another popular point worth stopping at is Mattick’s Farm, which is just north of Victoria (at the Cordova Bay Golf club). The return trip from Mattick’s Farm to the Cordova Bay Golf Course is about 6 km and is a perfect spot for an ice cream or to relax and rejuvenate with a cup of tea. You can also stop and pick up some fresh fruits and veggies for a refreshing break at the market about halfway between Sidney and Victoria, which is at the corner of Island View Road and the Lochside.
Enjoying the Trail
While the Lochside Regional Trail is a popular walking or cycling trail, there are sections that are commonly used by those commuting to work. It’s also used by those looking for an alternate route along the Trans Canada Trail north on Vancouver Island who are traveling to the mainland via the Swartz Bay/Tsawwassen ferry.
The trail is very popular with cyclists of all ages and abilities. Even novice cyclists will enjoy a relaxing ride through the picturesque countryside where one can stop at one of the air and water stations for a rest and to enjoy the scenery. For those planning a cycling day trip, a couple of the more popular trips from the Switch Bridge include:
- Lochside Trail past Swan Lake and over the Blenkinsop Trestle to Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park or Cordova Bay beach. This trip is 12 km one way
- For a more adventurous 29 km (one way) trip, follow the Lochside Trail through some Saanich Peninsula farmland to Sidney. Make sure to check out Island View Beach Regional Park along the way.
Whether you are taking a short relaxing stroll along the trail, spending the day at one of the beaches, or planning a day-long cycling trip, the Lochside Regional Trail is a must-visit for anyone in the Sidney area on southern Vancouver Island.
Gulf Islands National Park
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers a wide range of outdoor activities including hiking, boating, camping, and swimming. Whether you are an experienced backcountry camper or hiker, or perhaps just want to spend the day at the beach swimming and picnicking with friends and family, the Gulf Islands has it all. This archipelago is world-renowned for its breathtaking scenery as well as its easy accessibility. There is also a very good chance you will see a number of wild residents who make this area their home including sea lions, otters, killer whales, bald eagles, and more.
Camping facilities vary from backcountry camping for the more experienced and car camping for those who want a more relaxed experience. With about 100 backcountry campsites spread among 10 camping areas situated along eight different islands, there is no shortage of places to explore. Some camping areas are only accessible by water so it’s a good idea to check out the Park’s kayak launching and parking locations.
The Park also offers a number of front-country campgrounds including:
- McDonald Campground
- Prior Centennial
- Sidney Spit Campground
For those who have never camped or perhaps just want to brush up on their camping skills, Gulf Islands National Park hosts Learn To Camp workshops. These free mini-workshops will help you brush up on your camping skills and teach you how to cook delicious camp food in fun learning activities.
Want a more relaxed outdoor adventure that the whole family will enjoy? Try a day of picnicking. You can pack your own picnic lunch and spend the day swimming and exploring the grounds. The Park also has some great ideas to help you plan the perfect day outdoors:
- Saturna Island – Picnic at East Point while you keep a lookout for the seals and whales who like to frolic nearby
- Mayne Island – A private 22 acre property that includes secluded campsites, a cottage, and beach access
- Sidney Spit – Pack your own or pick up a gourmet picnic lunch then take a relaxing cruise on the passenger foot-ferry and spend the day at the beach
For those who want to experience a more rugged outdoor adventure, there are plenty of opportunities to take in the beauty throughout the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Most backcountry campsites are on a first-come-first-served basis with the exception of Single Bay which is located on North Pender Island.
The cost for backcountry sites are $4.90/night, per person with fees payable at each site and deposited into the site’s self-registrations vaults. Receipts must be displayed on your campsite post, or if one is not available, then to your tent. These sites are monitored so making payment as soon as you arrive is important. The sites are equipped with:
- Picnic tables
- Choice of tent pads, plant forms or open field
- Beach access
- Pit or composting toilets
Important to remember is that there is no potable water; so you must bring enough to last for your stay and campfires are not allowed in the backcountry.
Gulf Islands National Park also offers a host of cycle touring adventures. For the novice rider, Mayne Island is the best choice with a shorter road network and flatter surfaces. For the more experienced and adventurous riders, Saturna and Pender Islands offer the greater challenge.
Getting to Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is easy from several points from both Vancouver’s mainland as well as from Vancouver Island.
- Drive-On Ferry or Walk-On Ferry – BC Ferries offers both vehicle and passenger ferry service from Mainland Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Mayne, Saturna and the Pender Islands. When looking at ferry schedules, it’s important to check if a particular vessel is drive-on or passenger only.
- Kayak or Boat – Many areas are accessible only by boat or kayak, so when making your reservations, be sure to ask how to access the specific area you plan to visit
To reserve a campsite or find out more specific information about your planned trip, it’s a good idea to give them a call at: 1.877.RESERVE (1.877.737.3783).
Whatever your outdoor adventure includes, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve has the facilities and services to make your trip to the Southern Gulf Islands an exciting and memorable one.
Located at the foot of Beacon Avenue in Sidney, Beacon Park offers a variety of activities suitable for all ages. The well-maintained grounds and lively atmosphere of the park provide visitors with a sense of belonging to a friendly community. Some of the many things that one can take part in at Beacon Park include:
- The Beacon Park Pavilion
- Public art displays
- Picnic tables
- The Sidney Pier
- Diver’s Point
Take a leisurely stroll through the Sidney Seaside Sculpture Walk, where you can see some unique sculptures by local artists. Enjoy live performances at the park’s pavilion, or take in the fantastic seaside views along the waterfront walkways. Make sure to check out the boardwalk that will take you to the Sidney Wharf, where guests can visit:
- A vibrant fish market
- Boat and ferry access
- Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
With plenty of green space, benches for relaxing or enjoying a picnic lunch, and walks along the shoreline, it’s easy to make Beacon Park a full-day outing. Morning strolls at the park often include sharing a friendly smile and easy conversation with locals taking their dogs for a walk.
Beacon Park is less than a half-hour drive from Victoria and is a favorite gathering spot for locals and visitors alike. Beacon Park and its surrounding area have so much to offer, including:
- Whale watching
- Amazing chocolate and sweet shops
- Sidney Museum and Archives
Before heading to Beacon Park, why not stop at the Sidney Visitor Centre, where you can learn about all the sites and activities at and near the park. Whatever your plans are when in Sidney, be sure to leave at least one day to take in all the activities that Beacon Park has to offer.
BC Aviation Museum
Discover the history of aviation at the BC Aviation Museum, located in the south-east corner of Victoria International Airport. With three hangars filled with early flying machines, the museum is a must-visit destination for aviation enthusiasts and visitors of all ages.
BC Aviation Museum is open year-round, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day. Visitors can browse a wide selection of aviation art, visit the library, and even arrange special group tours for schools, Scouts, Girl Guides, and community programs. To book a group tour, please call 250.655.3300.
Here’s what you can expect to see at the museum:
The Main Hangar: houses all manner of flying machines, including early examples of machines that were meant to soar but never quite made it off the ground. The exhibit includes many flying machines that have been restored to make them airworthy but are intended solely for ground display.
The Library: provides a rich source of interesting aviation material for visitors who wish to relax and explore or for those looking for in-depth research. With more than 8,000 titles, 600 videos, 13,500+ magazines, and pictures, there is something for all ages in this fascinating library. Those who wish to take full advantage of all the resources the library has to offer will need to take out a membership. Library staff also welcomes inquiries by phone at 250.655.3300 or via email at: [email protected]
The Gift Shop: has a wide range of aviation-related souvenirs and gifts that are sure to please all ages. Among the many items they carry are toys/models, jewelry, key chains, mugs, books, DVDs, and more. For general or more specific information about the gift shop, please contact them directly at: [email protected]
The Restoration Facility: located next to the Main Display Hangar, this 5,000 square foot hangar is open for visitors accompanied by a tour guide. The facility includes areas for metal and wood working, instrument repair, and parts storage. Restoration of these incredible aircraft is handled by a group of extremely dedicated volunteers.
In addition, the museum hosts a number of year-round activities and events, which are posted on their website.
Admission to the museum is as follows:
- Adults: $10.00
- Youth (13 – 18 yrs): $8.00
- Children (7 – 12 yrs): $4.00
- Children 6 years and under: free when accompanied by a family member.
Group rates are available for groups with a minimum of 10 people and must be pre-booked. To obtain group rates, please call 250.655.3300.
Museum hours are:
- Summer Hours: (May 1 to Sept. 30) 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Winter Hours: (Oct. 1 to April 30) 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Both admission rates and hours are also available by scrolling to the bottom of the museum’s main page. The BC Aviation Museum also includes detailed directions for getting to their facility. Plan your visit today and experience the wonder of flight at the BC Aviation Museum.
Ardmore Golf Course
Located in Sidney, just a short drive from the Victoria Airport, Ardmore Golf Course is a wonderful 9-hole course that offers tees for a ‘Back 9’ for those wanting to play 18 holes. The best part? It’s a public golf course that offers a host of membership options to choose from.
Award-winning Coaches to Improve Your Game
Are you looking to improve your golfing skills? Ardmore offers golf lessons held by award-winning coaches. Jeff Palmer, Director of Instruction has taught in various Golf Academies all over the world for more than 20 years. His coaches are committed to helping clients set goals and offer valuable feedback to help you achieve your goals and improve your game. To find out more information on lessons, you can email Ardmore directly at [email protected] or call them at 250.656.4621.
Reasonable Rates and Rental Options
The cost for a round of golf is reasonable for both 9 and 18 holes. During the summer months, rates for 9 holes start from $16.00 and guests of members can get it for as low as $20.00. Ardmore also has pull carts and power carts available for rent. You can check out a complete list of prices for 18 holes as well as the cost of rentals directly on their website. It is always a good idea to verify current prices in the event that they may have changed.
Dress Code and Tournaments
It is important to note that all players are required to adhere to a dress code. The golf course also has regulations in place for footwear. Golf tournaments can be arranged at Ardmore and can accommodate up to 72 players. Dining areas are also available for groups of up to 150 people. For more information on tournaments and other events, you can call Jeff Palmer, General Manager at 250.656.4621.
Ardmore Annual Fundraiser and Irons Grille
A popular event each year in August is Ardmore’s annual fundraiser for the ALS Society of BC, held in memory of local business owner Dave Pendray. From May to October Players can take break and enjoy a light meal at the Irons Grille. Hot dog lovers will certainly want to check out their exclusive hot dog menu that always includes a creative and unique ‘Dog of the Day’ selection.
Special Offers and Booking
Ardmore always offers lots of special deals so, before you book a tee time, it’s a good idea to check their special offers. Once you find the offer and date you want, simply book right online. You can also download a copy of their booking contract for more detailed information.
Are you ready to experience the beauty of Ardmore Golf Course? Book your tee time today!