Sidney, BC, incorporated as a town in 1967, population 11 178 (2011c), 11 315 (2006c). The Town of Sidney is located on the east side of the SAANICH PENINSULA on Vancouver Island, 30 km north of VICTORIA, facing Haro Strait. Straits Salish people (see SALISH, CENTRAL COAST) first inhabited the area, and permanent non-native settlement began in the 1860s and 1870s when agriculture developed. Sidney was founded in 1891 by the Brethour brothers, who incorporated their farms into the Township of Sidney. The name was taken from nearby Sidney Island, which was named in 1859 for Frederick W. Sidney of the Royal Navy. In 1894 the Victoria and Sidney Railway opened, and by the early 1900s local industries included a roofing factory, a cannery and a large sawmill. During the 1920s and 1930s several fires and competition from the mainland destroyed Sidney's early industries.
The early industries have since been replaced by service functions, boat building, fishing and tourism. Sidney is the business hub of the northern part of the Saanich Peninsula and the gateway to VANCOUVER ISLAND, with 2 official ports of entry: the Anacortes Ferry from the US and the Victoria International Airport, 1.6 km west of the town. Eight km to the north is the Swartz Bay terminal of the BC Ferries system, which connects with the mainland. Sidney is also a popular retirement centre and the area is surrounded by several major marinas.