Raise Your Spirit(s) at Sidney’s Seaport Place

Port Sydney Marina

Dec 17, 2020

by Marianne Scott

Sidney is a great destination for boaters. Two marinas provide access to provisions and many restaurants and shops. Another attraction, Victoria Distillers, is located next to Port Sidney Marina and offers informative tasting tours.

Port Sidney Marina

Victoria Distillers introduced its first main product, Victoria Gin, 14 years ago. Now they’ve introduced Empress 1908, a special gin. The distillery infuses the gin with the Empress’ signature tea blend, and other botanicals including the “butterfly pea blossom,” an herbal tea grown in southeast Asia. It’s that blossom that gives Empress 1908 its unique indigo colour.

Tasting RoomVictoria Distillers offers tours (check the website for Covid hours). I took the tour with others and by one of the stills, we had a chance to sniff the clear liquid. “It’s the last bit of gin we’ve just distilled,” our guide said. “It’s made-up of heads, hearts and tails. Only the heart, the middle of the distilled liquid, is drinkable.” He also showed us dishes of juniper berries and other botanicals added during the distilling process: lemon peel, coriander, angelica, orris root, rose petals, orange peel, star anise, cinnamon and sarsaparilla.

Victoria Distillers Birdseye ViewAfterwards, we congregated at the tasting table, where we quaffed samples. Each had a distinct flavor. I highly recommend you make a stop at Victoria Distillers and learn about distilling and its distinct products.



You can read more about this and 20 other distilleries in Marianne Scott’s The Distilleries of Vancouver Island—a Guided Tour of West Coast Craft and Artisan Spirits to be launched in Spring, 2021 by TouchWood Editions.

Neptunus 650F Review

Neptunus 650F 400

By Andy Adams

Over the years Canadian Yachting has had the pleasure of doing several boat review articles on new Neptunus models and we are familiar with the qualities that Neptunus is famous for. They have all been exceptional yachts, but this is the one I would most want to own myself. It’s a personal choice and a matter of taste as to whether you would prefer to have a sedan express model or a flybridge but in my opinion, the flybridge layout offers some wonderful attributes.

We met with Neptunus Managing Director Jan Willem De Jong this past fall to take the new Neptunus 650F out in Lake Ontario. 

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The Other Virgin Islands

Sunset off St John

By Mark Stevens

I was first seduced by the United States Virgin Islands during a ferry ride from St. Thomas to Tortola to begin one of our earliest British Virgin Islands charters nearly twenty years ago.

A perfect sunset off St. John with St. Thomas views for backdrop.

Clearing Pillsbury Sound, surrounded by voluptuous emerald mountains as the ferry sliced through royal blue waters, I was struck by the unspoiled ambiance of St. John, the island gliding past our starboard beam and the irresistible charm of a village called Cruz Bay visible from our quarter stern.

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