A new foot-passenger ferry has arrived in Victoria's harbour, but the owners say service between the capital and Vancouver won't start until the spring of 2017.

V2V Vacations had hoped to begin service this summer, but spokesperson Nick Cheong says the ship needs to be refurbished.

"We don't want to rush things and get it wrong. We really want to take our time and refine each of the elements that will go into this service," said Cheong.

The Australian ferry company bought the ferry in 2015 and had it shipped by cargo vessel though the Panama Canal and up to Victoria. The ferry was previously used as a high-speed ferry between between Montreal and Quebec City to Tadoussac where the Saguenay Rivers meets the St. Lawrence.

Clipper Navigation — which already runs a passenger ferry between Victoria and Seattle — has also announced plans for a Vancouver route. That company has not said when the service will start.

Foot passenger ferries between the two cities have been tried in the past. Royal Sealink Express shut down in 1993 after a year and a half.