Learn more about our news and special events, both here at the marina or out and about on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Gulf Island Farmer’s Markets

July is one of the most fruitful (pun intended!) months for fresh fruits and vegetables, so every week during the summer there are markets that pop up across the Gulf Islands, and on the Saanich Peninsula.

Farmer’s Markets are a wonderful way to connect with the community, find new recipes, and shake hands with the farmers who grow your food. On Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, the climate is very moderate, which enables farmers to grow a wide variety of produce ranging from apples and eggplants, to figs and kiwis. By buying local foods, you can be ensured that your fruits and veggies are fresh, harvested sustainably, and tastier than those that have travelled across the world to reach the shelves of your Supermarket. At these markets, you can also expect homemade foods, local wine, cider and beer, arts & crafts, and live music!

Check out our list below to see when the local markets are, and what type of produce you can expect!

Where are the Markets?

  • Sidney Street Market (Thursday evenings from June to August, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Beacon Avenue, Sidney B.C.)
  • Saltspring Saturday Market (Saturday mornings from April to October, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Oceanside at Centennial Park in the heart of Ganges)
  • Galiano Saturday Market (Saturday mornings from May to October, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – 922 Burrill Road)
  • Pender Island Farmer’s Market (Saturday mornings from April to October, 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Privateers Road)
  • Saturna Island Saturday Market (Saturday morning from July to August, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – 101 Narvaez Bay)

What’s in Season?

January: Apples, beets, cabbage, carrots, garlic, holly, kiwis, leeks, microgreens, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, turnip

February: Apples, Leeks, microgreens, parsnips, potatoes

March: Apples, fruit trees, leeks, peppers

April: Cauliflower, fruit trees, herbs, lettuce, peppers, rhubarb, tomatoes

May: Asparagus, beans, cauliflower, celery, fruit trees, herbs, kale, lettuce, peppers, rhubarb, spinach, swiss chard, tomatoes

June: Asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, currants, garlic, herbs, kale, lettuce, peas, potatoes, rhubarb, salad greens, spinach, squash, strawberries, swiss chard, turnips, zucchini

July: Apples, beets, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, corn, cucumbers, currants, figs, garlic, herbs, josta berries, kale, lettuce, loganberries, marionberries, melons, onions, peas, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, saskatoon berries, spinach, squash, strawberries, swiss chard, turnip, zucchini

August: Apples, beets, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, crabapples, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, garlic, gourds, grapes, herbs, kale, lettuce, loganberries, marionberries, melons, onions, peaches, pears, plums, potatoes, raspberries, squash, strawberries, tayberries, turnip, zucchini

September: Apples, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cranberries, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, garlic, gourds, grapes, herbs, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, onions, parsnips, peaches, pears, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, rutabagas, shallots, squash, strawberries, turnip, zucchini

October: Beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, crabapples, cranberries, eggplant, figs, garlic, gourds, grapes, kale, kiwi, leeks, parsnips, pears, potatoes, pumpkins, quince, rutabagas, shallots, squash, turnip, zucchini

November: Beets, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, gourds, kale, kiwi, leeks, onions, pumpkins, shallots, squash, turnip

December: Beets, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, holly, kale, kiwi, onions, potatoes, rutabagas, squash, turnip

What are your favourite recipes using fresh, local produce? Share in the comments!

A New Way to Travel – Northstar Air Tours

A New Way to Travel – Northstar Air Tours

Vancouver Island is a big and beautiful place. The Island stretches 460 kilometers in length and 100 kilometers in width for a total of 32,134 km2 in area. We are surrounded by some of the most pristine and beautiful coastlines in the world, attracting people from across the globe. Our forests are dense and populated by hundreds of thousands of different species, some of which are exclusively ours. A major criticism that Islanders express is that we are limited in means of travelling on, off, and around the Island. A few different methods of travel, such as ferry and float plane are available, but these can sometimes be inflexible and unreliable.

Northstar Air Tours have opened a departure base at the Shell Aero Centre at Victoria International Airport – approximately 10 minutes from Van Isle Marina. Their They offer scheduled trips from Victoria to Friday Harbour and Eastsound and back, at reasonable rates and times. They also offer charter trips to many different locations, including the San Juan Islands, Tofino and more. Imagine having the flexibility of being able to have your guests meet you partway through your trip, at your convenience! Their fleet of planes, “Super Q Islanders” can take off and land in grass, gravel or paved runways. These planes have ample room and storage for up to 9 passengers.
For more information, please visit Northstar Air Tours website at https://www.northstarairtours.com/.

What Type Of Boater Are You? – A Quiz

Van Isle Marina’s Courtesy Bikes are back, and better than ever!

Van Isle Marina’s four brand new Norco bikes are easy to use and are a breeze to ride. The step-thru design makes the bikes suitable for people of all athletic abilities and can accommodate heights ranging from 5’2” to 6’2”. As always, baskets, locks and helmets are included with your courtesy rental!

Sidney and the Greater Victoria Area is known for it’s extensive network of bike paths and trails. Here are our local favourites!

The Lochside/Galloping Goose Trail:

The Lochside Trail is a popular route reaching from downtown Victoria to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal. It is designed to be an easy commuter trail that is accessible for all activity levels. Much of the path is paved and fairly flat, even when while winding through some of the most beautiful farm land that Saanich has to offer. Along this route you will find many farm stands, a food truck, bridges, a pig farm and scenic ocean views.

From Van Isle Marina, this route would take approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes each way.
Extending past Victoria, the Lochside trail turns into the Galloping Goose trail, which in total length from Swartz Bay is 55 kilometers. This route can take you as far as Sooke!

Victoria Airport – “The Flight Path”:

This route is a 9.3-kilometer loop around the Victoria International Airport and is a favourite of locals! The entire loop is paved and marked at every kilometer, with historical information signs every few kilometers. The Flight Path’s views range from the ocean at Patricia Bay to the airport runways. At “Mile Zero” you will find parking, washroom facilities, a water fountain and a war memorial.
From the marina, it is a 10-minute bike ride. The loop is roughly a 35-minute ride.

Resthaven/ Lochside Loop:

This loop is a great way to see Sidney and an excellent route if you are looking to do some provisioning! The route takes you down Resthaven Drive, right to the middle of town, down Fifth Street down to the waterfront by Tulista Park. At the roundabout at the end of Fifth Street, head West down Ocean Avenue to meet the Lochside Trail. The trail will take you alongside the Patricia Bay Highway until you reach MacDonald Park Road/ Resthaven Drive. It is a 7-kilometer loop, and very rider friendly.



Check in with the Front Desk at Van Isle Marina to borrow a courtesy bike and get out on the road!

Spring Cleaning at Van Isle Marina & Green Boating Tips

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful and busy cruising grounds in the world. To keep this environment pristine for future generations, we all must do our part in limiting the amount of pollution and wastes that we are responsible for. Van Isle Marina is doing their part by hiring a crew of divers to scour the ocean floor around the marina to pick up any debris. Not only does this help the local wildlife, but it also ensures that Van Isle Marina remains clean and immaculate.

See below for our tips on how to make your boating experience eco-friendly:

Proper fueling procedures are important for keeping oil and gas out of our waterways. Oil and fuel in the water can impact bottom sediment, marine life and shore birds. When fueling, prevent spills by filling fuel tanks slowly and catching drips and spills with absorbent pads. Don’t ‘top it off’ or overflow your fuel tank.

On-board sewage management is not a fun thing to think about, but it is a necessary part of your boat’s system. Van Isle Marina has a pump-out facility located at our Fuel Dock so be sure to use ours or another pump-out facility whenever possible. When tied up to the dock, use onshore facilities. Encourage guests to take advantage of the onshore restrooms before you set out for a day trip. Obey the law-keep untreated sewage out of all coastal and inland waters.

Waste Management & Recycling
To reduce your impact on the environment, it’s important to properly dispose of your boating waste and recycle when possible. More than an eyesore, trash in the ocean is one of the world’s most pervasive pollution problems. Make a rule that nothing goes overboard and that all your waste comes back to shore into the proper trash or recycling receptacle.

Regardless of your boat’s size and systems, routine inspections and maintenance can alert you to potential problems. Prevent oily discharge from the bilge. Keep your engine well-tuned to prevent fuel and oil leaks. Place an oil absorbent pad in your bilge and under your engine where drips may occur. Check the pads often; don’t let them clog the bilge pump and dispose of them as hazardous waste at a marina or local hazardous waste collection center.

Boating Ecosystem
For many, one of the greatest joys of boating is being able to immerse oneself in nature. Whether you enjoy scenic landscapes, birds and wildlife viewing or you are an avid recreational angler, boating provides an escape from day to day life and an entry into the natural world. Maintaining a healthy ecosystem benefits us all. It’s important to know how to be a sustainable angler and to be aware of the impact of invasive species.

The boating lifestyle is a great way to spend time with family and friends, enjoying the water. And as boaters, it is our shared responsibility to help keep the waters and resources that we use healthy for generations to come.

Five Nautical Knots to Know

With summer fast approaching, it is time to dust off your knot tying skills! Here are 5 must-know nautical knots to have you boating like a pro, in no time at all.

Round Turn Two Half Hitches

This is a practical and easy-to-learn knot that is great for beginners and advanced boaters! This knot is used to secure the end of a rope to a fixed object. A round turn wraps the rope around the object, while the two half hitches secure the end around the standing part.
Practical Uses:
• Tying a fender
• Tying to a bull rail

Sheet Bend (& Double Sheet Bend)

This knot is used for tying two ropes together, generally of different sizes. The traditional Sheet Bend involves the working end looping around the standing end once, and you guessed it, the Double Sheet Bend involves wrapping the standing end twice. This rope is very effective when joining two ropes together that are under loading, however it will likely become untied if the ropes are not under load.
Practical Uses:
• Making nets
• Joining lines

Figure Eight Knot

Also known as a Flemish Knot, the figure of eight knot is a simple and effective way to stop a rope from slipping out of a device. It is very popular for boating as well as a primary knot for rock climbing! It is simple to tie, and easy to undo.
Practical Uses:
• Stopping a line from sliding through rigging



Quite possibly the most important knot for a sailor & boater! This knot creates a loop at the end of a rope and has endless uses! If you’ve done the knot correctly, the knot should resemble a person wearing a lifejacket.
Practical Uses:
• Tying a line to a stanchion
• Fastening a halyard to a head of a sail
• Safety harness for rescuing

Reef Knot (Square Knot)

Originating from its use with reef sails, this knot is used to secure a single line around an item. It is one of the first knots that sailors learn, as it is easy to learn through the chant of “right over left and left over right”. Under tension, this knot is very secure however it is very easy to untie.
• Tying two lines of the same material and density to each other
• Reefing sails
• Securing a bundle of items to each other

Remember, practice makes perfect! Don’t worry if these knots don’t come out right the first few times you try them. With enough practice, they will become like second nature. Armed with just these few knots, when it’s time to tie up to the dock or put out the fenders, you will be able to do so like a pro.

Register Now for the 2018 Riviera and Belize Festival of Boating

We’re proud to advise that you can now be the first to register for the 2018 Riviera and Belize Festival of Boating.

Registrations are now open exclusively for Riviera and Belize owners to attend our educational and social events program.

We encourage you to visit our Festival of Boating website by simply clicking on the coloured link buttons below to review the full extent of our 2018 boating education workshops and seminar program.

As well, you can be the first to purchase tickets to our exclusive headline social events that we have created just for the Riviera Family this year.

We look forward to you joining the Riviera Family from all over the world for a fantastic four days of boating education, inspiration and fun at the home of Riviera – Coomera on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Please do not delay your registration or ticket purchases as many workshops and our events do book-out early.



Our annual Festival of Boating is strongly focused on education. In 2018, we have a choice of 40 individual boating workshops hosted by 27 individual boating experts. Each workshop has been fully revised and our experts have been given the opportunity to expand on specific areas of interest and we have allowed even more question time.

Places are limited so please book early.


Our very popular Ladies Luncheon will be held this year at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort at Main Beach. This is certain to be another special occasion as the latest fashions from White Label Noba and exquisite pink diamond jewellery from Hardy Brothers are presented exclusively to our Riviera ladies.

Places are limited so please book early.


Welcome to the Caribbean and an inspiring celebration Riviera-Style, of this most evocative island paradise. This year we will whisk you away on a vibrantly colourful journey to the sparkling Caribbean, where spiritual music converges with joyful dance and the rhythm is everything.

Places are limited so please book early.


This year the Festival shares the same dates as Sanctuary Cove Boat Show. Our red-carpet showcase of new premieres and selected models is so extensive that it will be divided between the Riviera yard at Coomera and the Sanctuary Cove Show. For Festival registrants only we have exclusive parking and ferry transfers to and from Coomera to Sanctuary Cove.


Riviera has secured special packages with selected accommodation providers to help you enjoy your visit to the Gold Coast even more in May.

The Festival of Boating website has full details of these options and client codes for these exclusive Riviera packages. We will also offer a transfer each day to the Festival from these accommodation locations. This transfer can be booked via the Festival website.

Places are limited so please book early.

We look forward to welcoming you to Coomera in May


Spring Boating Start-Up Checklist

Spring is in the air; is your boat ready to get back to cruising? If you did winterize your boat, you saved yourself some spring boat prep time and possible headaches now, which means the road between your boat and the water is shorter! Although it is always best to winterize a boat before putting it into storage, if you didn’t, don’t worry. Here are some tips to get your bow pointed in the right direction:

Have Your Manufacturer’s Manual Handy

If you have a copy, fantastic. If you don’t, it would be a good idea to get one. You’ll need it to replace fluids and parts properly. Never take apart anything without consulting the manual first.

De-winterizing Your Engine

This will be the biggest and messiest task, so it is recommended that you start here. If you didn’t change the oil at the end of last season, do so now. At the same time you change the oil, be sure to change the oil filter. Change the oil in the transmission or the outboard’s lower unit as well. Next, fill up the cooling system. Be sure you examine the hoses for any cracks and empty out the strainer. Finally, check the batteries and replace them if needed. Use a battery tester to check out the amps and volts and perform a thorough engine test.

Inspect the Canvas & Vinyl

Check your bimini top, seats, covers, and other vinyl and canvas items for tears, mildew and dirt. Repairs tears and holes, and then clean with the proper cleaner for canvas and vinyl.

Inspect the Hull and Propellers

Check the hull for abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc. and repair if needed. Inspect and replace zincs if necessary. Touch up or replace bottom paint. Check the propellers for dings, pitting, cracks and distortion.

Clean and Wax the Hull

First clean your boat’s exterior using a marine safe cleaner from a marine supply store. Van Isle Marina is also able to supply or order in almost any product you may need. Then, wax the hull as necessary.

Polish the Metal and Teak

Metal and teak are referred to as ‘brightwork’ and enhance the look of your boat. Also, prolonged neglect of metal and teak can compromise the integrity of the materials. To protect the metal, use a metal polisher. For teak, it is usually recommended that you sand it and then apply stain and varnish.

Test All Electronics

Bring all the electronics back on board and do a thorough test to be sure they are working properly. Test the radio, GPS, compass, depth finder, and any other marine electronics.

Clean the Interior

Whether you have an open deck or cabin with full galley, clean the area thoroughly to remove dirt and debris.

Van Isle Marina’s Yacht Park is available to help you with any springtime preparation you may require.  Our Sea-Lifts and Brownell submersible trailers can haul-out up to 70 feet or 45 tons.  You can book a full or half haul-out depending on your needs.  Half Haul-outs are convenient for inspections, zinc changes or marine surveys.  If you have never been to the marina before, our videos are an excellent introduction to the haul-out process.

Five Hikes in the Gulf Islands

At Van Isle Marina, we are fortunate to be located in the heart of the Gulf Islands, one of the best cruising grounds in the world. There are more than 200 islands in the region, each different than the last. The sheltered waters of the islands are wonderful for fishing, swimming, and sailing, while the isolated forests are perfect for hiking and camping. Below are five of the most popular hikes in the area, and are, of course, only accessible by boat!

Princess Margaret Perimeter Trail (Moderate – 7.2 km)

Located on Portland Island, (nice and close to Van Isle Marina!) the Princess Margaret Perimeter Trail is one of the most highly rated hiking trails in the Gulf Islands. It is a dog friendly loop trail that follows the shoreline around the island, showcasing the pristine white seashell beaches. If 3 hours is a bit too long, there are cross island trails that can shorten the hike to 1 hour. There is a dinghy dock located on the North side of the island at Princess Bay and Royal Cove for the convenience of local boaters.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 3 hours

Tumbo Island (Easy to Moderate – 3.5 km)

Take a step into seclusion on this quiet island to enjoy an easy hike through a few of British Columbia’s various ecosystems; garry oak and douglas fir forests, marshes and coastline. While you are walking, try to spot the remains of the coal mine that inhabited the island in the 1900s! This island’s name comes from “tombolo” which is a sand, shingle and driftwood bar.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 90 mins

Mt. Norman Hike (Difficult – 1.5 km)

On the southwest side of Pender Island is a short but very steep trail, leading to amazing views of the Gulf Islands, Olympic Mountain Range and Mt. Baker. There is a boardwalk and viewing platform, so you can relax and truly enjoy the beauty that you worked plenty hard for! The elevation gain is 199 m, so this trail is not for the faint of heart.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 60 minutes

Russell Island Trail (Easy to moderate – 1 km)

Russell Island is the closest you can get to feeling like you are in Hawaii, without being in Hawaii. In fact, during the mid-19th century it is estimated that at least 1000 Hawaiians came to the Pacific Northwest and some even settled on Russell Island. Take a walk around the island on the well maintained trail to experience a near-tropical environment, and to see the artifacts left over by the Hawaiian residents.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 30 Minutes

Roe Lake Trail (Moderate – 1.2 km)

Located on Pender Island, Roe Lake is a small fresh water lake on the western side of the island. The area is local to many wildlife including deer, beaver and plenty of wild birds. On any given day in the summer, the area is enjoyed by plenty of picnickers and families, as there is an easier 0.5 km trail accessible from Magic Lake Estates. The full 1.2 km trail is accessed through Shingle Bay Rd.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 55 minutes

Have you completed any of these hikes? Share your photos in the comments!

Four Must-Sees at the 2018 Miami International Boat Show

Day One is a wrap, and Day Two is officially underway for this year’s Miami International Boat Show! Tens of thousands of boating enthusiasts are expected to pass through Miami Marine Stadium Park on this President’s Day (USA) weekend and we could not be more excited! The show runs from Thursday, February 15 to Monday, February 19, 10 am to 6 pm daily. Tickets are still available, click here!

Riviera Boats – Slips 650-657
Step aboard and experience luxury, quality and sophistication on one of the nine Riviera models showcased at Pier 6. Prepare to be stunned by the blue-water 57 Enclosed Flybridge and 43 Open Flybridge models which are two of the latest and greatest examples of flybridge engineering. Stop by and say hello to Van Isle Marina’s Yacht Broker, Cameron Williams.

Miss GEICO Offshore Racing Boat – Booth CC10
This world-class racing boat is a 47’ Victory Catamaran that has won several awards, propelled by two 1650 Mercury race engines with 3300 hp. The catamaran can reach speeds more than 200 mph, so this is not a exhibit you want to miss!

Fred’s Shed – Tent J
This exhibit is an interactive learning experience, dedicated to DIY repairs and maintenance for boat-owners. Seminars are lead by industry experts and it is completely free. Topics include: diagnosing electrical problems, gas outboard troubleshooting, carburetor maintenance and many more topics! You can find these seminars running throughout the day, from 11 am to 5 pm at Sailor’s Cove.

Discover Boating’s Hands-On Skills Training Courses – Header Dock between Piers 1 & 2
Whether you are a sailor or a powerboater, there is always a benefit to sharpening up your skills! There are courses available for novice and advanced boaters. These seminars specialize in monohull and catamaran sailing, or basic powerboat docking. Each course has a maximum number of participants, so reserving your spot in advance is necessary.

What exhibits are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.