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Tsawwassen and BC Ferries

BC Ferry Docked at Tsawwassen

Tsawwassen is a community in South Delta that’s home to one of the region’s two BC Ferries‘ terminals that connect the Lower Mainland with Vancouver Island.

The other terminal connecting Vancouver with Victoria on Vancouver Island is at Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. Both terminals also offer services to the Gulf Islands.


In response to the coronavirus pandemic (and initial resulting 80% drop in demand for passenger ferry travel), BC Ferries reduced its number of sailings considerably. On April 3rd, 2020, the corporation announced that it was suspending all sailings from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo effective Saturday, April 4th. Since that time though, that route has restarted.

Ferry services from Tsawwassen to both Nanaimo and Victoria have continued to operate, although on a reduced schedule. For a while sailings from Tsawwassen to Victoria’s Swartz Bay ferry terminal departed at just 7 am, 11 am, 5 pm and 9 pm. Regularly scheduled sailings at 9 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and 7 pm were all cancelled (but have since started back up again, at least in most cases).

The only sailings from Tsawwassen to Nanaimo’s Duke Point terminal, meanwhile, at least for a while, were at 7:45 am, 12:45 pm, 5:45 pm, and 10:45 pm. As of July 2nd, eight additional round trips were added to this route’s weekly schedule. Ferry services to Gulf Island destinations have also continued to operate, but also less frequently than usual.

Limited food services are now in operation on select BC Ferries routes. Passengers are asked to wear a face covering and remain two metres apart from other people. Space in the lounge areas is limited so passengers are encouraged to stay in their vehicles for the duration of the trip.

To learn more about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the ferry corporation and its services, see the BC Ferries website.

To learn how the novel coronavirus is impacting other businesses in the Lower Mainland, see our article about COVID-19 and Vancouver Closures and Cancellations.

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, an exceptional place for bird watching that’s not far from the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. The park has a nice beach, cycling and walking trails. If you like birdwatching, or if you need to catch a ferry and have some extra time, go early, visit the park and don’t forget to take your binoculars.

Another good place for bird watching, also in Delta, is the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary 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 September 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) than Horseshoe Bay (which doesn’t connect so directly with Victoria).

Of the two ferry terminals, the one in Tsawwassen is the more developed, having 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, which makes it much more picturesque if you have time to leave the terminal and go for a stroll.

Events in Tsawwassen

The community of Tsawwassen hosts a couple of major events each year.

The Delta Polar Bear Swim takes place at Centennial Beach at Boundary Bay Regional Park on New Year’s Day each year. 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.

Other Information

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: