Sidney is a town located at the northern end of the Saanich Peninsula, on Vancouver Island in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is one of the 13 Greater Victoria municipalities. It has a population of approximately 11,583. Sidney is located just east of Victoria International Airport, and about 6 km south of BC Ferries’ Swartz Bay Terminal. The town is also the only Canadian port-of-call in the Washington State Ferries system, with ferries running from Sidney to the San Juan Islands and Anacortes. Sidney is located along Highway 17, which bisects the town from north to south. It is generally considered part of the Victoria metropolitan area.
The town west of Highway 17 (also called Patricia Bay Highway) has a mixture of single-family residences and light industry. The majority of the town is located east of Highway 17. The island-studded Haro Strait, part of the Salish Sea forms Sidney’s eastern boundary. There is a large boating and marine industry in the area, ranging from marinas to boatbuilders and marine suppliers.
Sidney’s main attraction is its position on the Salish Sea. Sidney-by-the-Sea is the gateway to the southern Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, and is a popular eco-tourist destination, with whale-watching, bird-watching, kayaking and scuba-diving. It is home to the new Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located within Sidney and the adjoining Sidney Channel Important Bird Area, an internationally recognized site important to a variety of seabirds and waterfowl.
Sidney has its own local history museum, the Sidney Museum and Archives, which features displays about the history of the surrounding Peninsula as well as numerous temporary exhibits. As home to the Victoria International Airport Sidney also hosts the British Columbia Aviation Museum which features displays, artifacts, restored historical aircraft and an ongoing vintage aircraft restoration workshop.
During the summer, Sidney hosts a very popular street market on Thursday evenings on the main street (Beacon). “Sidney days” is another popular event that occurs at the beginning of July. To celebrate, Sidney has a parade, a popular build-a-boat contest, a small fair and fireworks in the evening. In the winter, Sidney has a holiday parade as well as a lighted sailpast boat parade. Sidney has many dining places including Greek, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and west-coast restaurants. Sidney has a well maintained boat ramp for trailerable boats with a dock for queuing up, it is located next to the Washington state ferry terminal.
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