Victoria Clipper ferry service to return to operation Friday

Victoria Clipper ferry service to return to operation Friday
Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News
Victoria Clipper seen in Victoria's Harbour on March 1, 2020.

A piece of pre-pandemic life in Victoria will return to the Inner Harbour as the Clipper resumes service this Friday.

The Seattle-Victoria ferry service is set to sail into B.C.’s capital for the first time in 18 months after service was shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Canada-U.S. border closure.

Service is resuming between the cities on a four-day weekend schedule, but only fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival will be able to make the sailings.

“Really looking forward to reuniting with everybody, it’s been too long,” said Clipper CEO David Gudgel. “And as much as we have some other services like the San  Juan service, the core of our business and the heart of our company is really the Victoria service.”

Because of the testing requirements, most passengers who come to Victoria will stay for multiple days, which the tourism industry is welcoming.

“It’s great for the hotel because they generate overnight stay business, so they’re not just transitory travelers coming through for the day but they come and stay in the hotel overnight,” said Ian Wish, director of sales and marketing at the Hotel Grand Pacific. “Maybe have some breakfast, have a dinner, head out do some shopping, see a show, go to Butchart Gardens.”

That will likely be the case of the 100 or so American passengers heading into the Inner Harbour Friday.

“This is the first passenger ferry to come back,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. “It’s fantastic news, really good to welcome our American friends back in Victoria.”

The arrival will even be topped off with a grand entrance.

“Seems like we’re going to be escorted by the water taxis, the fire boat, and the Coast Guard vessel on our way to the pier on Friday so that [feels] great,” said Gudgel.

Masks will be required for all passengers heading to Victoria. While vaccinated U.S. citizens can visit Canada, the American border currently remains closed to international travel and is only open to permanent residents and essential workers.  


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