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)

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 will able to book their camping spots July 16, starting at 7 a.m.

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.

The Peninsula News Review has also reached out to Parks Canada for comment about the significance of the opening for the local tourism industry and will update this story accordingly.

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.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Nanaimo Airport. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Airport coping with low passenger counts, uncertain recovery

Airport CEO Dave Devana says it will take years to return to pre-pandemic passenger levels

Sophia Seward-Good and Aunalee Boyd-Good of Nanaimo’s Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design are showcasing their latest collection Yuxwule’ Sul’sul’tun – Eagle Spindle Whorl at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. (Photo courtesy Helena Lines)
Nanaimo’s Ay Lelum makes Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto debut

Clothing design company showing new collection, Yuxwule’ Sul’sul’tun – Eagle Spindle Whorl

Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Cowichan animal sanctuary gets international accreditation

A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Nurse Doreen Littlejohn takes a longterm approach in her outreach work with homelessness in Parksville Qualicum Beach, but says more needs to be done now. (Auren Ruvinsky photo)
‘Women face a much different experience on the street’

Vancouver Island nurse says community needs to be part of solution to homelessness

The Sepura is a garbage disposal system that separates solids from liquids and allows for stink and hassle-free composting. (Courtesy of Anvy Technologies)
Goodbye garburator, this Victoria company has a clean composting solution

Sepura has made Time Magazine’s ‘100 Best Inventions of 2020’ for its hassle-free functioning

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

The property at 113 and 161 Island Highway is currently being dismantled as the developer attempts to salvage ‘usable’ lumber for their development application to the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Development application delayed for high-profile Parksville property

Council refers application to staff for further improvements

Work is underway to bring a Nordic-themed Christmas display to Uptown Shopping Centre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Outdoor skating rink, road mural among holiday festivities at Saanich mall

Santa dons a clear mask for photos at Uptown this winter

Peninsula Panthers' owner and general manager Pete Zubersky questions the decision-making process leading to the suspension of play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). (Black Press Media File)
Peninsula Panthers’ owner questions process behind suspension of Junior B hockey action

Pete Zubersky does not understand actions of provincial body administering amateur sports

Most Read