Route 1

Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Victoria)

Voyage Distance: 44.4 km
Voyage Time: 95 minutes
Spirit of British Columbia
Spirit of Vancouver Island
Queen of New Westminster
Coastal Celebration
Sailing Frequency: 8-16 round trips per day


This was the first route operated by BC Ferries, starting in June 1960. The route is the busiest in the system and includes some of the best scenery on the coast. From Tsawwassen, the ferry crosses Georgia Strait and reaches the scenic Active Pass halfway through the voyage. The last half of the voyage, from Active Pass to Swartz Bay, is through the beautiful Southern Gulf Islands. The only problem with this route is that on weekends and in the summer the ferries can be very crowded.

Both Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen are ferry terminals and not much more. Tsawwassen is especially isolated being located on a 3 km causeway which itself is quite a distance from any place of interest. Both terminals do have washrooms and amenities. In 2005, Tsawwassen became home to the "Tsawwassen Quay", a sizeable marketplace selling everything from hot food to clothing. Buses leave Tsawassen just after the top of every hour and there is good highway access to Vancouver, Surrey, and the American border. Swartz Bay terminal is fairly close to the town of Sidney and also has regular bus service. A major highway connects Swartz Bay to downtown Victoria.


BC Ferries first voyage took place between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen on June 14, 1960. Their first two ferries, Tsawwassen and Sidney operated on this route.

About This Site - Contact: John Hammersmark

Copyright -