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
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
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.
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
Large image - please wait.
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