Booktown: Sidney B.C.

by Steve Quinn / Photo ©  Town of Sidney

The minute I set foot on Beacon Avenue, I’ve got a problem. Which bookstore do I visit first? Here in this seaside Vancouver Island town of about 12,000 people, 20 miles northeast of British Columbia’s capital city, Victoria, it’s all about the book.

In Sidney, it seems bookstores are everywhere. There’s one on the next block or even next door. There are another few stores down the road. And another standing just around the corner.

I could buy just about everything from the latest Jodi Picoult best-seller to rare finds like Mark Twain’s London-published first edition of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” I buy both.

Sidney breathes life into the written word, serving as a welcome reminder not only of why we like to read but also why we treasure a book resting in our hands. Even in the digital age of smart phones and tablets, Sidney inspires people to crack open a book. The most fun of browsing Sidney’s bookstores isn’t finding the book you’re looking for; rather it’s the one next to it or on the shelf below that catches your eye, allowing for endless hours of discovery.

Getting to Sidney is easy. From Anacortes, WA, hop on the ferry to Sidney. From Victoria, catch a bus for the one-hour ride to Sidney. But beware: With so many bookstores to explore, you might miss the last bus or ferry. For more information about Sidney’s bookstores, visit To learn more about visiting Sidney, go to or

For information about the ferry from Anacortes, go to