Tsawwassen is a community in South Delta. It’s home to one of the region’s two BC Ferries‘ terminals that connect the Lower Mainland with Vancouver Island.
Tsawwassen Town & Terminal
Tsawwassen is a small town in a largely agricultural area. In addition to being a major marine transportation hub, the area has a park, beach and a major outlet shopping mall.
Tsawwassen is home to Boundary Bay Regional Park which is an exceptional place for bird watching that’s not far from the ferry terminal. The park has a nice beach as well as cycling and walking trails. If you like birdwatching, or if you need to catch a ferry and have some extra time, go early and visit the park.
Another good place for bird watching, also in Delta, is the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. It’s at 5191 Robertson Road on Westham Island which connects via bridge with River Road West. For shopping, Tsawwassen Mills is an outlet shopping mall that opened in 2016. Big Splash is an attraction with water slides not far from the Ferry Terminal.
Where to Stay in Tsawwassen
If you need to stay in Tsawwassen overnight, consider the Coast Tsawwassen Inn at 1665 56th Street. It’s affordable, pet-friendly and a saviour if you ever miss the last ferry and have to find a place for the night.
Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal
Tsawwassen is the busier and more commonly used of the Lower Mainland’s two BC Ferries‘ terminals linking Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island. It’s slightly more convenient to get to for most people, plus it offers more destinations including routes to both Victoria and Nanaimo. Horseshoe Bay just connects with Nanaimo, so not directly with Victoria.
Of the two ferry terminals, the one in Tsawwassen is the more developed. The terminal has a pleasant shopping area with a small selection of boutique stores and food court-style restaurants. The advantage with Horseshoe Bay though is the fact that the ferry terminal there is right beside the village. This makes it much more picturesque if you have time to leave the terminal and go for a stroll.
To learn more about the terminal see our article about the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.
Tsawwassen Quay Market
At the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen there is an indoor public market where you can find gifts and food. It’s operated by the same company that runs the Lonsdale Quay Public Market in North Vancouver. Whereas the market on Vancouver’s North Shore has over 60 shops and vendors, the venue at the ferry terminal has closer to 20.
Inside the Tsawwassen Quay Market you’ll find souvenir stores, coffee shops and a selection of food court-style restaurants. You won’t find many multinational chains inside, like McDonald’s, although you can get Starbucks coffee. You will, however, find mostly locally-owned businesses, like the Sweet Thea Coffee & Bakery which serves locally-roasted and sustainably-sourced 49th Parallel coffee. Sweet Thea’s also sells amazing baked goods.
Other food vendors at the market sell a range of items including Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, pizza, hot dogs and gelato.
For gifts there is a Rocky Mountain Chocolate store (which is a franchised business based out of Burnaby). There are also places where you can buy sunglasses, hats, belts, magazines, smoked salmon, maple syrup, clothing and mobile phone cases.
To learn more about this little mini mall, see our article about the Tsawwassen Quay Market.
Events in Tsawwassen
The community of Tsawwassen hosts a couple of fairly large events each year.
On New Year’s Day each year the Delta Polar Bear Swim takes place at Centennial Beach at Boundary Bay Regional Park. It’s a short event, but a couple of thousand people show up (of which over 100 actually go swimming).
Another event of interest in the community is the Tsawwassen Sun Festival which takes place over the BC Day Long Weekend. The main day of the 3-day festival is on the holiday Monday when there’s a pancake breakfast, parade, car show and family-friendly activities.
Click BC Ferries for information about ferry service to and from Vancouver Island and other Gulf Islands.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal
- Horseshoe Bay
- Tsawwassen Mills Mall
- Vancouver Hotels
- Harbour Air Seaplanes
- TransLink (public transit)
- Vancouver Festivals & Events