Living in Victoria is a wonderful experience, but have you heard about its sister to the north, Sidney? This small town is one of the best municipalities within the Greater Victoria region. Those that are looking for easy living on Vancouver Island should take notice of the Saanich Peninsula and all it has to offer, especially in this seaside community. If you are in the market for your new dream home, consider Sidney as the place to settle your roots.
SMALL TOWN CHARM WITH ACCESS TO AMENITIES
Sidney is a beautiful town within the Greater Victoria region. It has a population of about 12 000 people, giving it that small-town charm. The people in Sidney are friendly, accommodating, and peaceful. While Sidney has everything you need for daily life, additional amenities are relatively close.
Sidney contains many hiking trails, tourist attractions like Butchart Gardens andGowlland Tod Provincial Park, farm market stands, and an overall laid-back lifestyle that the Saanich Peninsula is known for having.
SIDNEY IS PART OF THE GREATER VICTORIA REGION
The capital city, Victoria, is about half an hour's drive away. Victoria contains the Parliament Buildings, an additional harbour, and more options for dining and shopping (including big-box stores like Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart).
Driving south from Sidney also means you will pass through Saanichton, North Saanich, and Central Saanich. All of these places have additional shopping and restaurant options, along with many hiking trails.
NEAR BC FERRIES AND VICTORIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Travellers will appreciate easy access to the Victoria International Airport, as well as several BC Ferry routes. These ferry services reach places like the Lower Mainland (Tsawwassen), the Gulf Islands, and even the United States of America. Jet lag at the end of a vacation is the last thing you want to work through, so knowing that home is only a few minutes drive away from the airport is a big advantage. No need for hotel rooms or renting a car when your home is right here. This makes Sidney a great home base for those that love to explore the world.
These forms of travel do increase the number of tourists in the area, but it isn’t overwhelming. As Sidney isn’t as well known as Victoria, most tourists fly or boat in, then travel southward to Victoria. This means that although some tourists contribute to the local economy, it doesn’t feel stuffed with foreigners. Even in the height of tourist season, Sidney still retains its small-town charm and friendly, laid-back way of life.
TOP TOURIST DESTINATION: BUTCHART GARDENS
The renowned Butchart Gardens is a short twenty-minute drive from downtown Sidney. Tourists visiting Victoria always make sure this stop is on their itinerary. This Natural Historic Site of Canada contains several floral gardens, all themed differently but connected harmoniously. Visitors casually stroll through the flower gardens and take in the artistic beauty of the landscape. Sidney residents have the advantage of being able to pop in for a visit at a moment’s notice.
SIDNEY IS A PICTURESQUE SEASIDE COMMUNITY
What is more peaceful than a small town overlooking the sea? Residents in Sidney can casually walk along the boardwalk and breathe in the fresh ocean breeze. The beautiful Beacon Park is a hot spot for locals to hang out, relax, and watch the ferries sail by as it is right next to the Pacific Ocean. Residents can own a boat and have safe moorage. Going out on the water for an afternoon is as easy as riding a bike when you live in Sidney.
Local coffee shops make it so easy to pop in for a bite or take it to go and enjoy it on a bench overlooking the water. There are several bookstores along Beacon Avenue to inspire the bibliophile in all of us. A beverage, snack, and a great book next to the ocean - what’s not to love about that?
In recent years, working remotely (from home) has become more popular. Taking your computer to the park for an ocean view or a quaint coffee shop beats an office cubicle any day. If you’re going to spend more time at home, why not live somewhere beautiful?
FABULOUS LOCAL SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS
Sidney is a haven for food lovers. Local coffee shops, restaurants, and retail options are plentiful and easily walkable. The downtown core of Sidney is mainly flat, so it is ideal for pedestrians to casually stroll through shops on a nice sunny day.
There are plenty of restaurants in and around Sidney. We’ve outlined some of our top picks already, including grills, breweries, pubs, Thai restaurants, Chinese food, cafes and bakeries, sushi, Indian cuisine, pizza joints, and dessert. No matter what your preferences are, there is a neighbourhood restaurant just for you.
Shopping options in Sidney are exceptional for a town of this size. Locally made goods, boutique shops, and a small number of chain stores add variety and uniqueness to your shopping experience. Most retail locations are locally owned and operated, so you can feel good knowing you are supporting the local economy.
CLOSE PROXIMITY TO FAMOUS GULF ISLANDS
The Gulf Islands are a top tourist destination for many reasons, so why not check them out? These islands are right at your doorstep in the Strait of Georgia. Explore Pender Island, Gabriola Island, Galiano Island, Saturna Island, and Salt Spring Island to name a few. These islands offer exceptional experiences around being humble, resourceful, creative, and environmentally sound. Camping, hiking, and shopping at the local farmers’ markets are top choices for things to do on the Gulf Islands. In about half an hour, you can be on a new island making new memories.
VARIETY OF HOUSING OPTIONS
Are you looking for a single-detached home for you and your family? Or maybe you’re in the market for a condo while you get established at your new job. Better yet, Sidney has a multitude of luxury waterfront and water-view homes. There are a variety of residential home options in quiet, safe neighbourhoods. Whether it’s an affordable 1 bedroom apartment or a luxury oceanfront home, Sidney has both and everything in between.
Often, small towns can be biased in having most of the housing as older, single-family homes. It usually isn’t until a town becomes a city that more densely populated housing options like condominiums and townhouses start popping up. Sidney has a great selection of detached single-family homes, as well as beautiful modern condominiums and craftsman townhouses. You will still find older homes in Sidney, but they are far from the only option available.
Those that are in the rental market will also appreciate that rent prices are similar to those found in Victoria, just with a better view and a stronger sense of community. Relocating to the Saanich Peninsula may surprise you with how calm and relaxing the vibe is compared to Victoria.
STUCK IN TRAFFIC? NOT IN SIDNEY
The dreaded “Colwood Crawl'' and rush hour in downtown Victoria are famous for all the wrong reasons. Why sit in traffic if you don’t have to?
Many places in Sidney are within walking distance. Those that are not, are only a short drive away. The bus system is less concentrated too, meaning you won’t hear the beeps and engines of double-decker buses as often as you will elsewhere in Greater Victoria. This results in less noise and frustration when on the road.
Want to know another perk of having less overall traffic? There’s less pollution, so it is easier to breathe in that fresh ocean breeze. Yeah, that’s more like it.
SIDNEY IS AN IDEAL PLACE TO RETIRE
Sidney is a wonderful place to retire. The mild weather, easily walkable flat landscape, the high number of amenities, friendly faces, and beautiful scenery make this an obvious choice. For a small town, Sidney sure packs a punch. The SHOAL Centre for Seniors often has programs and events tailored for an older crowd with a variety of interests. Several assisted and independent living facilities can be found throughout the region, allowing seniors a choice in the type of living situation they find most comfortable. Everything you need, throughout all stages of life, is located in the heart of Sidney.
SIDNEY REAL ESTATE LISTINGS
In this article, we outlined the top reasons why you should consider moving to Sidney, B.C. If you are interested in what is currently available in the real estate market, please view my listings or contact me with any additional questions. I look forward to hearing from you!
Image credit: Christine Ellsay