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Savour The Springtime

Head to Vancouver Island this March.

Spring comes early on Vancouver Island. Around this time of year, the temperatures are mild, the flowers are blooming and wildlife-viewing is at its most exciting. In other words, conditions are prime for visiting the area’s rich and varied attractions, from Victoria’s renowned Butchart Gardens to Ucluelet’s unforgettable—and remarkably accessible—Wild Pacific Trail.

Whether you’re travelling solo, as a  couple or with the whole family, you’ll find so much to see and do on a springtime escape to the island. Book a weekend getaway or a mid-week break. Or stay longer—why not? From the moment you arrive, you can relax, knowing you’ll have an invigorating and affordable holiday.

And you can do it all, quickly and easily, with WestJet, which offers daily service to Victoria, Nanaimo and Comox from Calgary and Edmonton. After a short flight, you can be roaming the island, experiencing its scenic towns and wineries, its unforgettable restaurants and spas and its unique array of outdoor pursuits.

Your first stop? Perhaps the Comox Valley, about halfway up the island’s east coast. The Comox Valley Airport, with its stunning views, gift shop, café, and car rentals right on-site, will provide you with everything you need to get out and begin exploring the region’s mountain trails, verdant farmland and pretty beaches. Play a round of golf on one of nine year-round courses, paddle along the shoreline on a guided kayaking trip or sample local treats on a culinary tour.

When you’re ready for adventure on the island’s rugged west side, head to Ucluelet. Less than three hours from Comox and just 40 minutes from Tofino, Ucluelet is the perfect home base for experiencing the wonders of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Lace up your boots and wander the trails of the park’s ancient rainforest, then take a leisurely stroll along iconic Long Beach. For family-friendly fun, book a whale-watching tour or visit the Ucluelet Catch & Release Eco Aquarium, where interactive exhibits will delight kids of all ages.

After a day outside, retreat to Black Rock Oceanfront Resort. An ideal spot for romantic escapes or family getaways, Black Rock offers a world-class spa, fine dining and beautifully appointed suites with floor-to-ceiling windows—so, even if it’s stormy outside, you can stay warm and dry while admiring dramatic views of the wave-worn coastline.

Water’s Edge Shoreside Suites is another gorgeous option for accommodation, with family- and pet-friendly rooms, plus easy access to Ucluelet Harbour. Cook your own feasts in your ensuite kitchen, marvel at the scenery from your patio or just bliss out in your deep soaker tub.

The Grotto Mineral Pool at Tigh-Na-Mara.

Speaking of bliss, don’t miss a chance to stay at the oceanfront Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre in Parksville. One night at this tranquil, amenity-rich resort won’t feel like enough—especially after you experience the Grotto Spa, voted best in Canada by Spas of America for the second year in a row. Indulge in a massage or body wrap, lounge by the Grotto Mineral Pool, then dine in your robe at the on-site Treetop Tapas & Grill.

In Victoria, Oak Bay Beach Hotel is another seaside oasis, from sunrise to sunset. A perfect day here might include breakfast in your suite, followed by some off-property exploring of the city’s one-of-a-kind shops—don’t miss Idar Jewellers, on Front Street, where celebrated goldsmith Idar Bergseth handcrafts exquisite pieces inspired by West Coast, Nordic and Celtic designs.

Following your retail therapy, return to Oak Bay Beach Hotel for a soothing treatment at its Boathouse Spa and Baths, then float in the heated outdoor mineral pools. End your day with a casual, fireside meal at The Snug pub, or opt for a gourmet experience in The Dining Room, where you’ll feast on the island’s best locally sourced ingredients.

No matter what you choose to do on Vancouver Island, chances are you’ll want to come back for more. ■