Since time immemorial the place that is today known as Sidney has been home ot the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation, a Straits Salish people, who developed a thriving and complex culture that benefited from the abundant sea life of the region. Europeans began settling here in the 1860s and 1870s to farm, and in 1891 the Brethour Brothers subdivided their farm lots into a townsite. Soon after industries began to develop in Sidney, centered on the waterfront around Beacon Avenue. These included a sawmill, shingle mill, cannery, a network of wharves. These were also connected by railway to Victoria in 1894 by the Victoria and Sidney Railway. These industries began to shut down after the First World War, but the community remained and was incorporated as a town in the 1950s.
Today Sidney is a quiet seaside village known for its beautiful vistas, many bookstores, and popular marinas.
This project is a partnership with the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society and the Sidney Museum & Archives.
We respectfully acknowledge that Sidney, or SET,TINES as it is known in SENĆOŦEN, is on the traditional territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation.
Then and Now Photos
Bank & Post Office
Sidney Museum & Archives P1991.49.9
A view down Beacon Avenue. The white building at left was the Merchant Bank of Canada, and the one behind it was the post office. .
Sidney Museum & Archives P1975.36.1
At right we can see one of the Critchley Brothers standing by a car in front of a shop. Behind them, in front of the post office & Critchley Store, you can see a small crowd of people gathered around a horse and buggy.
East End of Beacon
Sidney Museum & Archives P1991.7.1
A view towards the Government Dock at the end of Beacon Avenue. Two ships, including the Canadian Pacific Railway's Queen City, and the ill-fated SS Iroquois are moored at the dock.
Sidney Museum & Archives
A man and several children and their dog stand outside the Sidney Bakery. The building survives to this day, though now it is a cannabis dispensary.
Conservative Committee Rooms
Sidney Museum & Archives P1993.2.1
Men pose for a photo with a car outside some business blocks on Beacon Avenue that have been emblazoned with a giant sign saying CONSERVATIVE COMMITTEE ROOMS. The buildings were evidently also home to a pool room, a cinema, and a men's clothing store.
Sidney Museum & Archives P1991.33.1
A group of soldiers pose for a photo on Beacon Avenue during the First World War. They are likely completing their training and soon to be dispatched to the trenches in France.
Clam Shell Mountain
Sidney Museum & Archives P1981.5.8
Two men standing atop 500 tons of clam shells at the Sidney Cannery.
Beached Minke Whale
Sidney Museum & Archives P1991.47.1
A beached Minke whale in front of a home on Beaufort Street. The man at right is a reporter for the Sidney Review.
Sidney Museum & Archives 2019.47.43
Wreaths have been placed on the cenotaph honouring those from Sidney who fell in the world wars.
Corner of Beacon & 3rd
Sidney Museum & Archives P1993.38.1
The southeast corner of Beacon Avenue and 3rd Street, showing the Food Centre. Most of the buildings have survived though the Food Centre is now a Starbucks.