Information about Customs and Directions
If you are travelling into Canada from another country, there are a few important items to know about the Canadian border.
There are basic travel requirements. See link for any research you'd like to do before entry into Canada. Here is a basic review from the Government of Canada website though.
You must meet some basic requirements to travel to Canada. You must:
have a valid travel document, like a passport
be in good health
have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country
convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
have enough money for your stay.
The amount of money you will need depends on how long you will stay and if you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.
Also, there are important words that should NOT be used, as they are not accurate to your stay here. We highly recommend you do NOT use words such as "work" or "study" or "volunteer". These suggest categories contrary to what L'Abri is, and will require a formal application for a visa. It is preferable to say "retreat" or "just visiting."
Directions to L’Abri
Vancouver Island is accessible by flight or ferry, either from America or Canada. We recommend flying into Victoria (YYJ) if possible as it cuts travel time down significantly. The ferry rides are beautiful though, especially from Tsawassen. Once on Vancouver Island, you can reach L’Abri by taxi or by public transit. Directions are below.
General Bus Information
Victoria bus fare is $2.50 in exact change (coins only; American should work). If you transfer buses you will have to pay again. If you are taking a bus, ask the driver how to get to Butterfly Gardens, which is quite near L’Abri, at the intersection of West Saanich Rd. and Keating X/Benvenuto. Once there, walk south ten minutes down West Saanich. L’Abri will be on your left in the trees, just before the honey store on your right.
Please confirm all bus numbers and times by checking the BC Transit website for the most current information.
1. From Vancouver
From downtown Vancouver or the airport, take the SkyTrain to Bridgeport Station and transfer there to the #620 bus headed for Tsawassen ferry terminal. Ferries from Tsawassen to Swartz Bay typically run on the odd hour, with extra sailings over summer and holiday weekends. Sailing time is an hour and a half. From the ferry terminal, take the #70 bus to Sidney and transfer to the #83, or take the #70 to the Royal Oak Exchange and transfer to the #75. Or take the #81 and walk to L’Abri from the Brentwood Bay terminus (about half an hour walk). For the #83, ask to be let off at Butterfly Gardens.
2. From the Victoria airport (YYJ)
Take a city bus or a taxi. The city bus (#83) runs infrequently (about once every two hours). Ask the bus driver for the stop after Butterfly Gardens. Taxis wait outside the airport.
3. From downtown Victoria
Take the #75 bus northbound on Douglas Street (the main street). Ask the bus driver to let you off at Butterfly Gardens.
4. Ferries from America
There are three ferries available to reach Vancouver Island from Washington State. The Anacortes ferry is north of Seattle and arrives closer to L’Abri, whereas the Port Angeles ferry is west of Seattle and arrives in downtown Victoria. Both of these routes will take at least four hours including ferry and driving time. It is possible to take a vehicle on these ferries. The Victoria Clipper is for foot passengers only and is direct from downtown Seattle to Victoria, with about two hours sailing time. However, it is significantly more expensive, especially in the summer.