The rolling interior lands of North Saanich afford sweeping views of hills and valleys, and a generous feeling of open space and rapport with nature.
Said to be the finest rural-residential area in all of Canada, North Saanich boasts a long coastline on three sides, enveloping agricultural farmlands, cosy bays and generous protected parklands. North Saanich enjoys unexcelled views of water, islands and mountains, along with close proximity to air and sea transportation.
Eetsun-Hunnumut, the Saanich language motto of North Saanich, is loosely translated to mean “the land where it is good to be”. Agriculture is very important to the municipality today, as evidenced by the number of farms, and roadside produce and flower stands.
Communities in North Saanich include Deep Cove, Sidney and the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay. North Saanich has an extensive park and trails network linking municipal, regional, and provincial parklands, making it a very popular area for day hiking, cycling and horse back riding.
Location: North Saanich occupies the northern portion of the Saanich Peninsula in Greater Victoria, bordered to the west by the Saanich Inlet, to the north by Satellite Channel, to the east by Haro Strait, and by Central Saanich to the south. Communities in North Saanich include Deep Cove, Sidney and the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay.
Set amidst natural beauty and unspoiled charm, the vibrant community of Sidney-by-the-Sea is the gateway to the BC Gulf Islands and the US San Juan Islands. This bustling commercial hub of the Saanich Peninsula is blessed with majestic views of the ocean, the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. Sidney offers a multitude of unique galleries, gift stores, antique shops, restaurants, bakeries and coffee bars.
Swartz Bay is the main ferry terminal for Victoria and southern Vancouver Island, and the province’s second largest and busiest ferry terminal after Tsawwassen.
- In addition to the ferry terminal, North Saanich is also the location of the Victoria International Airport, making it the true Gateway to the Capital Regional District of Victoria.
- The British Columbia Aviation Museum is dedicated to preserving aircraft and aviation artifacts related to the history of aviation in Canada, with an emphasis on British Columbia. The showcase of Canadian aviation history displays twenty vintage airplanes, including Canada’s first planes, wartime fighters, and a full-size replica of the Gibson Twin Plane that beat the Wright brothers’ famous accomplishment set in 1903. Other displays at the BC Aviation Museum include engines, uniforms, memorabilia, a reconstructed radio control room, and a Memorial Room with aircrafts dedicated to the two world wars. Located on Norseman Road in Sidney, next to the Victoria International Airport.
- The Saanich Historical Artifacts Society tells the story of farming, country life and industry on Vancouver Island, with rural artifacts dating back to the early 1800s. View one of Western Canada’s largest collections of working steam engines, tractors, agricultural machinery, antique farm equipment, historic buildings, and household and industrial artifacts. The society hosts an annual Summer Fair on the farm and museum grounds, held on Father’s Day each June, and Fall threshing on the third weekend in September. The 29-acre park offers picnic tables, nature trails and a pond. Located at 7321 Lochside Drive in Saanichton, alongside the Pat Bay Highway, between Victoria and Sidney.
- For a magnificent view of Sidney, the Gulf Islands, and the North Saanich communities, take a drive up McTavish Road to the University of Victoria’s Dunsmuir Lodge, which is bordered by over 600 acres of forested park.
- Kayaking: Launch your kayak in Deep Cove, and explore the calm waters of the Saanich Inlet, where negligible tidal currents make this a great paddling area for novices and experts alike. A public boat launch beside the federal dock at the north end of Lands End Road at Swartz Bay is a good place to launch your boat or kayak and head for any number of nearby islands or to explore the coastline of the Saanich Peninsula. Those in open canoes should be cautious of the wash from ferries and larger marine traffic around Swartz Bay. Paddlers can launch from either the boat ramp or wharf in Sidney and head across the channel to Sidney Spit Marine Provincial Park or Princess Margaret Marine Provincial Park. To locate the launch, drive to the east end of Beacon Avenue.
- Biking: Mount your bicycle and travel the country lanes on trails that aptly describe the beautiful scenery and woodland countryside – The Coles Bay Sun and Surf Route, The Flatlands Farm Route and The Strawberry Fields Forever Route. The Saanich Peninsula extension’s northern trailhead of the Galloping goose trail is on the Sidney waterfront and runs a considerable distance south from the intersection of Lochside Drive and Beacon Avenue in North Saanich to Quadra Street near Victoria. The Lochside section is rougher and less well marked as it passes through urban neighbourhoods, but highly enjoyable as it leads through rural Saanich.