Community Profile

Community Overview

Sidney is a vibrant place to operate a business. Victoria Rising provides an excellent overview of Sidney’s key characteristics for business owners.

The following information is sourced from Sidney’s Economic Development Plan, which was approved by Council in 2023.  

Sidney by the Sea is situated within the traditional territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ People along the shores of the Salish Sea on the Saanich Peninsula, amidst the Gulf Islands. In close proximity to the Swartz Bay Ferry terminal and the Victoria International Airport, Sidney is a 20-minute drive to downtown Victoria, BC’s capital city. It is one of the 13 municipalities within the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area.

The 2021 population of 12,318 reside in a flat, walkable community of 5.10 square kilometres. Sidney’s major economic sectors are manufacturing, retail and tourism.

There is an important marine sector in the area, ranging from marinas to boatbuilders and marine suppliers. A scenic 3.6-kilometre waterfront walkway, a historical museum, the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea Aquarium, a Fishing Pier and a vibrant downtown boutique shopping district are among its amenities.

Sidney’s population has grown 50% over the last 40 years, slower than growth experienced in the Capital Regional District and for BC, but still robust given the small footprint of the Town and the lack of new subdivision lands.

One of the defining features of the local population is its high proportion of older age demographics. With approximately 40.9% of its population over the age of 65, it has twice the seniors’ population share of the province. This has resulted in a median age of 59.8 years, well ahead of the provincial median age of 42.3, according to Canada’s 2021 census.

The average household income is above the BC average and growing more rapidly due to the in-migration of wealthy retirees. The community will keep growing in the future, by an expected 10% over the next 20 years. This will lag overall BC growth again due to constrained land and housing opportunities.

The economy of Sidney and the Capital Region is primarily a service-based economy and continues to move in that direction as time passes. Approximately 85% of all jobs in Sidney are in services with retail and wholesale trade, health services, transportation services and the public sector leading the way.

The other 15% of jobs are in goods-producing industries, which despite their small share are critical to the community’s economic base. Not only do goods producers like manufacturers pay above average wages, but when indirect and induced impacts are considered, they also make an outsized contribution to the Town’s tax base.

The marine industry, including boat maintenance and repair, is another key component of the goods sector. Transportation industries, which are technically services, are also integral to the goods supply chain.

Businesses affiliated with air, water, trucking and warehousing are all clustered in Sidney because of its strategic location, linking southern Vancouver Island to the Metro Vancouver.

In 2022 – in an effort to support the local business community - Town Council approved a 10-year plan to bring the tax rates paid by Residential and Commercial properties into closer alignment.

Over a period of 10 years, the rate paid by Commercial properties will be gradually reduced to a ratio closer to 2 to 1, when compared to the rate paid by Residential properties. This phase-in began with the 2023 property taxation year.

See the Town’s property tax rates here.