Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club
 "On or by the Sea, the Friendly Place to be"

SNSYC History

Initial Club Formation

In 1981, a number of boaters had been cruising together and racing their sailboats with the Canoe Bay Sailing Club when they thought it would be nice to have a yacht club of their own in Sidney. A planning committee meeting at the Ibbotson’s house was held shortly after, with Jim Morris, Robert Anstey, Bill Shaw, Wayne Stevenson, Ron Laking and Peter Ibbotson attending. At that meeting, it was decided to put an ad in the paper inviting anyone interested in forming a yacht club in the Sidney area to attend a public meeting at the Travelodge. Although 40 people were expected, 200 showed up. A second meeting was held at the Travelodge where it was decided to charge $5 to join the “Sidney Yacht Club”. A steering committee was formed to create suitable bylaws and a constitution. Bill Shaw was appointed interim Commodore and Peter Ibbotson Vice Commodore.

Eventually a constitution was agreed upon, an Initiation Fee of $75 ($70 to founding members) and annual dues of $75 was determined. In 5 short months, the club had been formed. The first Annual General Meeting took place on October 6, 1981 (a full slate of officers was elected the following year). By this time, a clubhouse had also been found.

When the Club was formed it was with the intention of providing facilities affordable by all, with the priority of providing a meeting place for Club Members. An offer of a clubhouse by Bob Wright for $1.00 annual rent shortly after initial club formation met these criteria.

Club History


The original owner of the clubhouse was Stephen Jones who bought the land in 1922 and built a house in 1923 (it was a summer home at that time). The house went through various owners, including Stan and Henry Clark who used an old fashioned dragline to make a marina after which they sold the property to a syndicate which named the marina “Bosun’s Marina”. Bob Wright (Oak Bay Marine Group) eventually acquired the marina and renamed it “North Saanich Marina”. About the time Bob Wright’s company was applying for a rezoning to enlarge the marina an agreement was made with the club for a 30 year lease.

The 30 year lease of a clubhouse on the waterfront property called for a nominal $1.00 yearly rent until January 1, 2002, after which the rent for the final 10 years was to be negotiated. With this offer came certain obligations relating to the provision of a parking lot (1/2 the cost paid for by North Saanich Marina), a breakwater and a sign. The decision was made to proceed with the negotiations for a lease and at the general Meeting held March 24th, 1982, a motion was carried empowering the Board of Directors (the Executive) to borrow up to $125,000.00 by bank loan or debentures to renovate and improve the Clubhouse. (Ed. Note: Julia Barron and Peter Ibbotson signed personally for this loan, and they knew what they were doing!). Money for a breakwater (the current dock) was approved at a Special General Meeting held April 14th, 1983 (a rock breakwater in front of the reciprocal dock was constructed by Oak Bay Marine Group about 1988)

Several extension and renovation plans were proposed and the decision was made to adopt what was known as Phase 1 of a longer co-ordinated development. Further development was considered desirable, but would not be possible until 1985 or later. Members were asked to contribute $75, as a special levy for the renovations, in April, 1984.

The Clubhouse extension was considered necessary to provide additional space for meeting and leisure rooms. Other changes relating to plumbing, toilet facilities and electrical installations were necessary to meet the building codes. It was also essential to provide a service area for liquor facilities and provide an alternative area for junior member gatherings when the bar is open.

Most of the work was done by a limited number of volunteers (12-18 members) who removed walls and the ceiling, roofed the extension, poured concrete in the basement, erected stud walls, installed insulation, drywall, showers, bathroom and laundry facilities, a heating system, plumbing, wiring, painting etc. and did finishing work. Members also donated building materials, offered the use of trucks and other construction equipment or provided cash donations to the building fund.”

As volunteers doing the renovations were spending a great deal of time on them, the executive would have liked to waive the $75 renovation levy for these volunteers, but it was decided to assess all members at the General Meeting of October 25, 1983.

It became apparent that not enough members were coming out on Friday evenings for dinner (to keep the club viable), and that the lack of a habitable Clubhouse Bar limits activities which would attract members. Completion of the facility was necessary to get Club members together. To do this, extra capital was needed in 1984. Money for this project was expended on architect’s fees, surveyors, inspection fees, legal fees, materials, septic field, plumbing, heating and electrical. At the same time, it was estimated that operational expenses, light, heat, taxes etc were some $18,000.00 per year. As a general rule, all Club activities were to be self supporting (i.e. racing, junior sailing and entertainment).


Club Bar is now licenced. A class A licence has been issued for the club bar facilities


Major clubhouse renovation and addition to the south side of the building were completed. September 23 we had a disheartening setback when fire broke out in the basement of the clubhouse. Fortunately, Scotty Carley arrived at the clubhouse around 7 pm for a meeting that, unknown to her, had been cancelled. Seeing smoke coming out of the building she promptly called the North Saanich Volunteer Fire Department.

The fire gutted the furnace room. The floor above was charred with a large hole in the front of the fireplace. There was extensive smoke damage throughout the building.


Insurance covered the rebuilding, completed by a contractor in February.


Smoking in the clubhouse was confined to the small room behind the fireplace that served as a bar in the early days.


Planning Committee develops plans for a more open family-oriented clubhouse.


Major interior improvements undertaken on the main floor to permit family use and food service. Kitchen and bar were upgraded and a large sundeck added to the southern side of the building. So this club, like all other good things continues to change.


The membership approved an increase in initiation fees and agreed to increase the contingency fund to $50,000 withing 3 years.


The outside of the clubhouse was repainted prior to opening day held in May. A dining policy was adopted by the Executive to reflect food services provided between the hours of 5:00 and 8:00 pm. Barry Ruff was given an Honorary Membership in consideration of flying the club burgee during the “Around Alone” race in 1998.


The first yardarm sale was held and monies raised have been placed in a special fund.


Main floor and reciprocal washrooms were renovated and a 3rd reciprocal washroom with shower, vanity sink, and toilet was added. New roof shingles installed on clubhouse. Parking lot was paved. New gas oven was installed in the kitchen. Vice Commodore Alex Foley noted that the club is more active and vibrant than it has ever been and the clubhouse is in the best shape ever.


Exterior lighting was improved between the club and parking lot.

A second meeting and training room was also added in the basement for junior sailors, summer sailing school and others.

Laundry facility was upgraded to include new sink and counter. A new sink was added to the workshop.

A new flagpole was installed as well as a new fireplace.


Major repairs on the reciprocal dock were completed. Electrical panel and circuit breakers were replaced.

The cold room in the basement was replaced.


The Clubhouse was connected to city sewer.


SNSYC bought four new Flying Junior dinghies for the junior and sailing school program.

A new launch ramp installed on the dinghy dock.


A walkway between the parking lot and club was paved with lighting also installed.


A wheelchair ramp was added in 2017.

Social membership was approved. A social member basically pays half the annual and initiation fees. Social members do not own a boat but they are welcome in the clubhouse and social events.


The reciprocal washrooms were renovated. New wall and floor tiles as well as sinks were installed and the washrooms were painted.


An outstation was established at the newly rebuilt Saltspring Marina in Ganges on Saltspring Island.

Summarized by Sigi Gudavicius, June 2024

Clubhouse photo provided by John Philion

Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club is non-profit organization.
PO Box 2521, Sidney, BC V8L 4B9

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