Tourists starting to roll back into Sidney

If the Sidney Street Market temporarily operating out of the parking lot of the Mary Winspear Centre is an indicator, the municipality is seeing a resurgence of visitors from beyond the Saanich Peninsula.

Market organizer Laurie McDermid of West Coast Impressions said it is too early to categorize visitors by geography, but she has observed a growing number of out-of-area shoppers among the general rise in visitors since the market began in early May.

“We are happy that we are getting a real variety, people from everywhere,” she said.

Darren Westwood, who helps to organize the market, has observed a growing comfort level with the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, as vaccinations become more widespread and public health measures become less restrictive.

“People are more relaxed, they are happier and they are talking to the vendors more,” he said. “And the groups (visiting the market) are bigger.”

One such group were eight members of Bikers Against Child Abuse, a non-profit with chapters across North America. Tug, who spoke for the group with his road name, said they chose to come to Sidney after hearing about it.

RELATED: Sidney Street Market parks in temporary location for 2021

“Somebody told us about the market,” he said. “So a couple of us wanted to end up here, so this is what we did.”

The main selling point for his group, which on this day included riders from Parksville, Ladysmith and Greater Victoria, were the food trucks. “I didn’t realize until we got here, there were vegetables and food (stands).”

For Tug and his friends, most of whom have received two vaccination shots, “just because we are a little older than the average kid,” Sunday’s ride still marked another reason to feel good about the summer.

“It’s like being alive again,” he said. “Time stood still for that year or whatever.”

The rising number of visitors is also good for local merchants at the market.

Jerry Antoniuk of Island Jerky said he has seen a lot of tourists return in the last couple of weeks.

“That has really come back,” he said. “Prior to this, there wasn’t a lot of it. But I have had (contact with people) from Yukon, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, lots from Alberta, but of course, nothing from overseas. We used to get lots of that. But we can’t complain.”

For more about the market, visit

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Wolf Depner

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