Overnight camping at Sidney Spit Campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve resumes July 20, the same day the Sidney Spit Ferry resumes service to the popular destination. (Parks Canada)

Public welcomed back to Sidney Spit ferry and camping ground

Service opens July 20 with new ferry contractor and other pandemic-related changes

The ferry connecting the Saanich Peninsula with Sidney Spit, a popular tourism destination for locals as well as visitors across Canada and around the globe, will resume service July 20, which is also the first day when campers can stay overnight.

Parks Canada announced the resumption of the Sidney Spit Ferry and opening of the Sidney Spit Campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Wednesday afternoon.Would-be visitors have been able to book their camping spots since July 16.

The resumption of the ferry service will also be the debut of the ferry’s new operator, Sidney Whale Watching, which purchased the contract earlier.

RELATED: Sidney Spit ferry remains docked

RELATED: Prime Minister paddles at Sidney Spit during B.C. trip

Meghan LeBlanc, Sidney Whale Watching’s operations manager, said the company is very excited to finally lift anchor.

“We are really excited that we are finally able to get this up and running and get people,” she said. “I know people have been dying to get over to Sidney Island and we know people have been really waiting to have this happen.”

The change in ownership is not the only one familiar users of the service will notice come July 20.

The ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to modifications of the vessel. “We would normally hold 41, but we have reconfigured the seating on the ferry so that people are not so cramped together,” said LeBlanc. “Because of that [social distancing], we have taken out a few seats to keep more space.”

In keeping with Transport Canada requirements, face masks will be required for boarding, and all visitors to Gulf Islands National Park Reserve should bring a clean trip kit including hand sanitizer and a tablecloth for those using a picnic table.

The vessel will also depart from a new location — the Sidney Whale Watching dock between Beacon Pier and Sidney Pier, as opposed to the previous location at the end of Beacon Wharf.

The Indigenous-owned business has also made some changes to improve convenience and avoid lineups.

“Everything, including tickets, is going to be online, but they can come to our office and we’ll book it,” said LeBlanc. Reservations are also possible over the phone and individuals can book now.

See the company’s website for more information, including the vessel’s schedule.

July 20 also marks the opening all remaining backcountry camping in the park reserve: Arbutus Point, Princess Bay and Shell Beach Campgrounds on Portland Island; Isle-de-Lis Campground (Rum Island); D’Arcy Island Campground; James Bay Campground, Prevost Island; and Cabbage Island Campground.

The opening of the park and start of the Sidney Spit Ferry also promise to boost local tourism.

“Parks Canada is pleased that the Sidney Spit Ferry will continue to launch from downtown Sidney as visitors to this part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve often enjoy pairing their trip to the Spit with a visit to local shops and establishments,” said Marcia Morash, superintendent of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, in statement to the Peninsula News Review. As we welcome visitors back to the park reserve, we hope that Sidney businesses also see many of these same faces.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich landfill gets used oil and antifreeze dropoff centre upgrades

BC Used Oil Management Association oversees upgrades, two new facilities in province

PHOTOS: Kids, parents cool off at Langford splash park

Centennial Park is home to a popular water feature

Colwood man to ride 400 kilometres to fight kids cancer

Man riding for a beloved family member who died from leukemia at 13-years-old

Saanich woman completes 10 marathons, raises double her initial goal amount

Over $20,000 raised for Victoria Hospitals Foundation

UPDATED: Missing 25-year-old Saanich woman found Saturday

Yuhan Jin thought to be travelling by foot or bus, carrying two suitcases

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Most Read