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Sidney Island

Sidney Island, first named Sallas Island, circa 1850, by the officers of the Hudson Bay Company was one of the earliest places settled on Canada's Pacific Coast. Sidney Island was on the route from Fort Victoria to the Fraser River gold rush in 1858.

Renamed Sidney Island by Captain Richards of the H.M.S. Plumper in 1859. Captain Richards named the island after the son of his close friend Captain William Franklyn. The son, eight year old, Sidney Franklyn, arrived in Nanaimo with his family, from London in 1851. Sidney later joined the Sea Service and was the pilot on the steamer Grappler. On April 29, 1883, the Grappler lost control after catching fire near Seymour Narrows. Sidney and 71 other people lost their lives.

In 1860, the Hudson Bay Company began offering land for sale for six shillings an acre. In the early 1900's, a brickworks, called the Sidney Island Brick and Tile Company operated and at its height employed about 70 men. The company was founded by a Canadian Pacific Railway's freight and passenger agent, who discovered a large clay deposit at the north end of the island. Old broken clay bricks can still be found on the island.

Some of the huge old growth Douglas Fir timber was logged during the two World Wars, and in its place vigorous stands of second growth have flourished.

In 1910, a group of Victoria businessmen purchased Sidney Island as a hunting, preserve though vegetable farming and sheep raising continued for some decades.

In 1981, after the Sidney Spit Park was created, the remainder of the island was purchased by Sallas Forest Limited Partnership. Today following official approval of a development plan to integrate low-density residential development with forest management and protection of areas of special environmental significance, ownership is being transferred to strata owners organized under a strata corporation.

In February 2002, 35.3 hectares on Sidney Island became a protected area via the use of seven conservation covenants. Fragile areas protected include Garry Oak Trees, coastal bluff ecosystems, four wetlands, scenic peninsula, and an extensive southwest facing shoreline.

Sidney Spit

The north end of Sidney Island is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, and is called The Sidney Spit. The park extends for about a mile from the end of Sidney Island. It is a finger of fine sand formed from unconsolidated sand and gravel deposited by receding glaciers. The parks contours change constantly, due to wind and tides.

The Park is composed of the Spit, a shallow saltwater lagoon, and 140 hectares of the north end of Sidney Island. There is a scheduled foot passenger ferry to the Spit from the town of Sidney on Vancouver Island. The Spit has thousands of metres of beach, great for swimming and beachcombing. The Park features 26 site campground, 21 mooring buoys, and docking facilities.

Map of Sidney Island
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Map of Sidney Island

Contact Li Read at Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring), 4 - 105 Rainbow Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2V5; Direct Tel: 1-250-537-7647