Sidney, a charming seaside town of 10,000, is the largest community on the Saanich Peninsula and the commercial centre for the District of North Saanich. The town is aobout 25 kilometres north of Victoria, and just 2 kilometres south of Swartz Bay on the eastern shore of the Saanich Peninsula. Sidney got its start in 1894 when the Victoria-Sidney Railway began service (it stopped in 1924).
The “downtown’ has lots of shops, marinas, and diving facilities all protected by its breakwater. Beacon Ave is the town’s commercial centre, with a plaza. The more touristy shops tend to be closer to the waterfront. Serious shoppers, though, head down the Pat Bay Highway into Saanich to the Town & Country Shopping Centre.
Sidney is also the stop for Washington State Ferries to Anacortes and the San Juan Islands. Just 3 kilometres offshore (and accessible by passenger-only ferry) is the Sidney Spit Marine Park. For those looking for a closer-in marine adventure, take the Sidney Harbour shuttle (250-385-1998) which connects downtown Sidney with the Blue Peter Pub in Tsehum Harbour (on Harbour Road) and then continues to Canoe Bay to the north.
Sidney’s recreation is centred around the water, with a number of beaches and anchorages. Pretty well anytime a street comes year water, there’s a great beach. The best beaches are along Lands End, Deep Cove, Ardmore and Bazan Bay. The best parkland is offshore: you take a short passenger ferry ride to Sidney Spit Provincial Park.
North Saanich has a couple of great parks including (from north to south) North Hill Regional , McDonald Provincial, Blue Heron, and the largest, John Dean Provincial Park which is home to Mount Newton. Just south of town is the Panorama Leisure Centre, which is the recreational hub of the Saanich Peninsula. The town is home to the Sidney Marine Mammal and Historical Museum. Just west of town is the Sandown Raceway, the Victoria area’s harness racing track. Golfing is west on McTavish Rd at Glen Meadows or Ardmore on the other side of the Airport.