In an age where hand-held devices tend to be the dominant source of entertainment for children and youth, the Saanich Peninsula offers a chance to unplug and enjoy the world, live and unfiltered.
For example, every Thursday night during June, July and August, Sidney’s downtown is closed to traffic and transformed into a vibrant street market. More than 150 vendors are on hand with offerings of crafts, flowers and homemade treats for the whole family. You can plan to have a meal, or simply graze on the scrumptious street food prepared before your eyes by a host of vendors.
And while they eat, the kids can listen to any of a myriad of musical performances. It’s a weekly festival of sight and sound that provides fun for the whole family.
On any day of the week, the family can also take to the Salish Sea on one of the region’s whale watching boats. The orcas and humpbacks are an unforgettable sight and you’re almost certain to see other marine animals as well. Children and adults alike will smile as salmon munching seals fend off the rude advances of marauding seagulls. It’s an experience like no other.
A short ferry ride (or for the more adventurous, a boat or kayak journey of five kilometres) will bring the family to Sidney Spit at the north end of Sidney Island.
The 400-hectare park features hiking trails that lead to some surprising locations like an abandoned brick company where pieces of brick still litter the shoreline, the lagoon or even a lighthouse. Families can walk the beaches and imagine their own adventures in this natural paradise.
Of course, if you’re on the Saanich Peninsula at the end of August, you can take in the 151st annual Saanich Fair on Labour Day weekend. It’s the oldest continuously operating fair in western Canada and all of that experience ensures that this will be a day to remember. See the animals, learn about agriculture, play the games or brave the midway rides. It’s a fabulous experience that will leave you all smiling.
The truth is, there are more sights, sounds and experiences on the Saanich Peninsula than we can list on these pages. Explore the Peninsula and you might find that you’ve all forgotten to check that cell phone, and, to your surprise, discover that you just don’t care.