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caption: A ferry out of Anacortes, Wash.
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A ferry out of Anacortes, Wash.
Credit: Jason Butterfield / Unsplash

Historic US-Canada ferry route will miss its 100th anniversary

The U.S.-Canada border is almost back to its pre-pandemic ways, but not the 100-year-old ferry route between Anacortes and Sidney, BC. Ongoing crew shortages at Washington State Ferries mean the international run won’t resume until next summer at the earliest.

This was supposed to be the summer to celebrate the 100th anniversary of cross-border ferry service between Anacortes and Sidney, near Victoria, BC, on Vancouver Island. But the route remains suspended.

John Vezina, planning and customer and government relations director for Washington State Ferries, said domestic and commuter routes have priority for restoration. So, the international run will be the very last to return.

“It looks like we won’t have the crewing and vessel availability until next summer," Vezina said. "But there is absolutely no plan — unless the Legislature directs otherwise — to permanently cancel it.”

Travelers headed to the greater Victoria region from the northwestern U.S. have two other options. The private Coho ferry is running again out of Port Angeles, and BC Ferries departs from just across the northern border in Tsawwassen.

“It is disappointing that this important connection between the Peninsula and the United States will continue to be suspended, however we recognize that Washington State Ferries is making every effort to restore its former routes,” Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil Smith said in June. “The Town was looking forward to celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the ferry service this year with the community of Anacortes, which has been a Sister City to Sidney since 1996. We remain committed to this ferry route and look forward to its return.”

The route between Sidney and Anacortes started in 1922 on a converted kelp carrier.