The VREB region we call the Peninsula, located on the Saanich Peninsula, is comprised of 3 VREB districts: District of North Saanich, Town of Sidney and the District of Central Saanich. Also included by the VREB in the Central Saanich district is the Willis Point portion of the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.
Agriculture is the most extensive land use activity in Central Saanich and North Saanich. The area has mostly single detached homes on often quite generous sized lots. There are many hobby farms with properties having enough level land for horses and some relatively large farms where fruit and vegetables are grown. Few cattle or sheep are present although pigs are grown in various places and one particular pig farm is actually an entertainment to passers-by. Michells is an example of one of the families who farm a number of pieces of land in Central Saanich and sell the produce through their farm market. The dominant agricultural/residential use results in retaining the rural atmosphere of most of the Peninsula.
There are 3 concentrations in Central Saanich that are like villages where there are a number of commercial businesses clumped together. They include Brentwood Bay on the edge of Saanich Inlet, Saanichton near Mount Newton Cross Rd and Keating Cross Rd which is really just a strip of businesses along that road. These areas also have a number of condos and some townhouses surrounding them.
Brentwood Bay has a small ferry that goes from Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay allowing travelers to skip the long trip to the south to get on to the Malahat to get them up-island. The protected waters of Saanich Inlet have resulted in a number of marinas and water-related businesses in the area as well. Close by is the world-famous Butchart Gardens visited by over a million people each year.
Saanichton stretches roughly along Mount Newton Cross Rd from the Pat Bay Highway in the east to past East Saanich Rd in the west. As well as commercial businesses in the area, there is also the Saanich Peninsula Hospital which is the main health facility on the Peninsula.
The Keating Cross Rd concentration is simply a number of businesses gathered together near the intersection of Keating Cross Rd and Oldfield Rd. This area contains a significant industrial/commercial area.
Another major business on the peninsula is of course the Victoria International Airport which takes a good chunk out of North Saanich. It includes a number of businesses integrated with or adjoining the airport. The Tsawwassen terminal of the BC Ferries on North Saanich land also contributes to the business side of the peninsula. These ferries go to Vancouver and several Gulf Islands.
A major agricultural event happens in the fall on the Peninsula in Central Saanich. It is the Saanich Fall Fair and dates back over 150 years. It is valuable in exposing a number of young Victorians to the animals and other agricultural activities that are disappearing.
There are beautiful parks on the Peninsula. They include natural areas as well as cultivated areas and sports fields. Island View Beach Park in Central Saanich stretches along the ocean where a number of sea birds can be seen in fall and winter. In spring and summer, many impressive wildflowers abound. The park stretches along the water up through the First Nations land and continues on to Saanichton Spit. John Dean Park, surrounding Mount Newton, is a mostly forested park straddling the Central and North Saanich borders.
Birdwatching is a popular pastime on the Peninsula due to the great waterfront areas and the vast green fields. As well as many good birds residing there throughout the year, occasional rarities get birders from around the area excited to search for these oddities. Having tolerant farmers who allow access to their land is a great privilege not to be abused.
Dominion Brook Park is a fairly new Park sectioned off from the Federal Centre for Plant Health which is a centre of expertise for studying horticultural plant viruses. Nearby is the Panorama Leisure Centre, a Recreation Centre share by Central and North Saanich and Sidney. It provides indoor tennis, an ice arena, pool and other facilities and there are two golf courses nearby to serve golf enthusiasts.
The small Town of Sidney came into existence when Victoria itself was being formed. The Hudson Bay Company originally held parcels there. There was only water access but eventually Sidney and Victoria were linked with rail lines. Some of these rail lines now form the basis for the Lochside Regional Trail, a major recreational multi-use trail, which stretches all the way to Victoria.
Sidney enjoys a temperate climate, natural amenities and friendly community character which makes it popular with retirees. There are many smaller older homes and a number of townhouse developments and also some condos, including some high-end ones on the waterfront. It has extensive waterfront walkways, parks, restaurants and marinas. Sidney has the multi-use Mary Winspear Community Centre, which includes the 315 seat Charlie White Theatre. Sidney's popular Thursday evening street market runs through the summer and attracts visitors from around the region. There is daily ferry service to Anacortes, Washington, USA. The Victoria Airport adjoins the west side of most of Sidney which allows for easy access. There are currently several developments being considered for the area and some of these concern the residents who want the small quiet area to remain so.
The following 3 districts make up the VREB Peninsula region. The district of North Saanich is sub-divided into 11 neighbourhoods. The district of Sidney has 4 neighbourhoods and Central Saanich has 11 neighbourhoods. Look at the VREB website to see more details on the neighbourhoods.
Visit the web site of the District of Central Saanich.
Visit the web site of the District of North Saanich.
Visit the web site of the Town of Sidney.