Historic Downtown Walking Tour

1. FROM SAIL TO STEAM
The 19th century saw a revolution in ship and engine design, with examples plying the local waters. Can you see any boats in the marina rigged in one of the styles described on the Discovery sign?

2. HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEYS
Marine charts are essential for military and commercial navigation. Large vessels navigate these islands to reach mainland ports. Can you see a cruise ship or deep sea freighter on the horizon to the east? It is travelling in Haro Strait.

3. THE SAN JUAN DISPUTE
Great Britain and the U.S. almost went to war for possession of San Juan Island. Today, the Anacortes ferry visits San Juan Island in the summer. Where is U.S. law enforced in Sidney?

4. WATERFRONT INDUSTRIES
Sidney’s waterfront has a colourful industrial and transportation history. Have you seen the iron anchor bolt from the sawmill, near the Beacon Avenue roundabout?

5. VICTORIA AND SIDNEY RAILWAY
The Saanich Peninsula was served by three railways. Can you see where the engine turntable was on 1st Street?

6. JAMES ISLAND
Explosives for military and industrial purposes were made on James Island. Can you identify James Island? (There’s a clue on the Discovery sign.)

7. DOMINION EXPERIMENTAL FARM
The Farm was a centre for agricultural research and experimentation. Dominion Brook Park was once part of the Experimental Farm. Have you visited Dominion Brook Park yet?

8. VICTORIA AIRPORT MILITARY HISTORY
The airport overlooking Patricia Bay was a WWII centre for Commonwealth aircrew training and coastal defence. Have you seen the “SABRE” on 4th Street or visited the BC Aviation Museum?

9. COASTAL NAVIGATION
Sidney was a marine link for rail and automobile transportation. Have you seen the remnant of the SS Iroquois in the park of the same name?

10. IROQUOIS PARK
Iroquois Park commemorates the SS Iroquois. Launched in 1900, the 82-foot steam ship plied the waters between Sidney, Nanaimo and the Gulf Islands, carrying freight, mail and passengers. On April 10, 1911, her service ended in disaster. In strong winds and heavy seas, the steamer left the Sidney dock with some 31 passengers and crew, and loaded down with coal as ballast and a large quantity of cargo. Just 15 minutes into the voyage, cargo on the upper deck shifted and the Iroquois began to list. The captain steered the ship towards shore but it capsized while still some distance from rescue. At least 20 people died but an exact count was never determined. The propeller and anchor from the Iroquois are on display in the park.

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