Darrel Bryan, CEO of Clipper Navagations, talks about the Clipper's role in the Inner Harbour, past, present and future. Darrel is the third in our monthly Victoria Harbour speaker series. 

Darrell Bryan lives in Seattle, but spends much of his time on our side of the border, and holds both a Canadian and US passport.  He sits on the board of numerous Tourism and Professional organizations, and was named Victoria's Business Person of the year in 1998, and Washington State Tourism Person of the Year in 1995.

The Clipper started operations in 1986, with just one vessel.  It became clear, in that first year, that being a transportation company would not be enough, and in 1987 it started packaging with hotels and other tourist attractions.  Today Clipper Vacations sells trips to Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Whistler, Victoria and the San Juans, featuring such attractions as wine tours, skiing, golf, cultural events and whale watching.  It partners with 68 hotels, Blackball, Pacific Coachlines, Amtrak, and more.  

Darrell told us that the Clipper Terminal location on the Inner Harbour has moved 6 times over the years, and its current location on Belleville Street is inadequate.   The terminal sees as many as 900 people in 45 minutes, and there can be lineups outside and down the street, and in all weather.  They load the ships 45 minutes prior to departure to help deal with congestion.  He showed us signs posted in the terminal building, apologizing to customers for conditions.   They spend $1.6 million marketing Victoria, and the gateway and exit are not suitable.   He told us that 99% of their business is discretionary travel, and noted that a bad experience on arrival will impact a person's view of their whole experience.  

Clipper currently has 2 modular units, and is wanting 2 more.  He noted there is no political will or money to build a new terminal; however, an ideal solution would be a terminal building shared by the Coho and the Clipper, with US customs pre-clearance. 


  • Will we see a morning departure from Victoria so we don't have to overnight in Seattle?    Maybe - they are looking at it.
  • What happens to beer sales when the Blue Jays play in Seattle?   They skyrocket!
  • How is Seattle's terminal in comparison to ours?   Marginally better.   There is a covered walkway where customers can wait outside.
  • Does the Clipper have Cargo Service?   Yes they do, offering customs clearance too.
  • How does he feel about Transport Canada revoking responsibility for the Harbour.  They do a great job, and he wishes they would keep doing it.