This Sidney doesn't look at all like the big city Sydney we visited down under some 15 years ago, but it was warm, the sun was shining, the skies were blue and the natives were friendly when we drove up to the neatly groomed little park where their the information centre was located. First impressions are always important, and on this occasion I'm pleased to say they continued throughout the visit as we drove and walked through their clean, well manicured neighbourhoods during our brief stay in this little town perched at the north end of the Saanich peninsula on Vancouver Island.
Even Sidney's garbage containers are attractive.
Our visit to Sidney had come about because we had decided to visit a few of the Southern Gulf Islands which are accessible by small ferries from Swartz Bay, just an additional 5 minutes further along the Pat Bay highway at the extreme end of the Saanich peninsula. Not so long ago, the British Columbia Ferry Corporation, was a rather poorly maintained and inefficiently operated government run company. Now it is privately owned and managed, and boasts a fleet which includes several almost luxury liner-like vessels servicing the major BC Mainland to Vancouver Island routes. The ferry activity in Swartz Bay did in a way remind us of that big city Sydney in Australia, where there are also a great many ferries scurrying in and out of the harbour as part of a commuter service which by comparison puts to shame its counterpart in Vancouver and their adjoining municipalities.
While I'm thinking in terms of comparisons, closer to home, Qualicum Beach (by the Oceanside) might also benefit from a few of the lessons learned by, and exhibited in Sidney by the sea. They might send their inward looking City Council and planning staff down for a visit to find out how to attractively blend in the commercial operations (which QB seems to so abhor) and whose absence forces their residents (and their tourists alike, I might add) to leave town almost every time they needed a product or service other than groceries.
I can't think of a single benefit that their present small town thinking policy generates, although QB's gray haired population appears to be quite satisfied with a monotonous lifestyle that does not ever require adapting to change... even if that change might be beneficial.