Practical information for visitors to Canada

Sidney is a small town on the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island. The nearby large city is Victoria which is the capital of the Province of British Columbia. British Columbia is one of the 10 Provinces of Canada.

Please read Howard Freeland's carefully prepared guide to Sidney and the local area.


The voltage is 120V and the primary socket typse are A and B, like the United States.


The currency is the Canadian dollar.


The weather is likely to be cool, but for those who attended the meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, take heart it is extremely unlikely to be cold in the Halifax sense of the word. Here is a display of the climate normals by month. The meeting will be in the rainy season, so please expect rain.

Average low
Average high
Rain in cm (inches)
Snowfall in cm (inches)

Getting around Sidney

Many restaurants are within walking distance of the various hotels.


Vancouver Island is a major destination for tourism. Popular local visits are:-

  • The Shaw Aquarium in downtown Sidney contains a small but very beautiful aquarium. It will also be the site of Thursday evening's public lecture by Greg Johnson.
  • The Butchart Gardens are beautiful at all times of the year.
  • The Royal BC Museum has a spectacular exhibit based on the lives and culture of the Canadian west coast first nations.
  • Farther afield, Cathedral Grove is a popular visit to see really huge trees
  • Even farther afield, for those who might stay a few days longer in the area, consider a trip to Tofino on British Columbia's very wild west coast. But beware of cougars, bears and tsunamis. It is an area of classic beauty. The Pacific Rim National Park is nearby. The Wickaninnish Inn is listed as one of the Relais et Châteaux. It is a wonderful hotel with one of the finest restaurants in Canada ( The Pointe Restaurant)
  • Should anyone come to the area a few days early, there will be a performance of the Mass in B-minor by J. S. Bach, one of the supreme achievements of Baroque music. The concert will start at 7 pm on Saturday March 10th at First Metropolitan United Church at the intersections of Quadra and Balmoral Streets in downtown Victoria. If anyone would like to purchase a ticket (on 12th July 2017 the prices have not yet been set but probably will be about $30 each) then let Howard Freeland know.

Restaurants in Sidney

  1. Howard recommends Haro's Restaurant in the Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa. They do wonderful "moules et frites" (mussels and frites).
  2. The Beacon Landing Restaurant and Lounge is across Beacon Avenue from the Haro's Restaurant, it is good pub-style food.
  3. The Surly Mermaid is slightly north of the Sidney Pier Hotel and offers a tapas-like approach to meals.
  4. A 30-second walk from 3) The Surly Mermaid is the Rumrunner Pub, which is a pub.
  5. There are many other restaurants along Beacon Avenue, such as Sabhai Thai and Thai Corner.
  6. Bistro Suisse does Swiss style cooking and is somewhat higher end for pricing.
  7. The Best Western Emerald Isle Hotel has a "Smitty's Restaurant" which some might like, but Howard says he would never eat there, it exists and it is cheap.
  8. There are a couple of Greek restaurants, Odyssia (Beacon and Fifth) and Marias Souvlaki on Second Street.
  9. My colleagues in the PICES Secretariat all enjoy "Fish on Fifth", a seafood restaurant on Fifth Street, Howard has never eaten there.
  10. The Woodshed Restaurant, also on Beacon Avenue, has pizzas.
  11. Farther afield Sea Glass Restaurant (about a 20 minute walk from downtown Sidney) offers an attractive spot with good cooking overlooking a marina.
  12. Substantially farther afield is the Deep Cove Chalet. You would need a taxi to get there. The food is superb and very much in the French style, the Executive Chef is Pierre Koffel, and the French style of cuisine comes naturally. It is an expensive restaurant and reservations are necessary.
  13. If anyone chooses to stay in Victoria, there is an endless supply of fine restaurants. Howard recommends Matisse, Vista 18 (on the 18th floor of the Chateau Victoria), Le Brasserie and 10 Acres Kitchen.