Photo by Deddeda Stemler
While much of Canada remains locked in a deep freeze, Victoria’s “unofficial” spring has been underway for weeks. The camellias and cherry blossoms are out and the light jackets have been moved to the front of the closet.
Here are five ways to take advantage of Victoria’s mild shoulder season.
Stroll the Cook Street Village and Dallas Road Waterfront
Locals and in-the-know visitors grab lunch and coffee in the funky Cook Street Village where the patios are already in full swing. You can also explore the area’s many antique shops. After, wander along the nearby scenic Dallas Road pathway for Instagram-worthy views of the Pacific Ocean and Olympic Mountains.
Explore Victoria’s Coastline by Bike
Hands down, the best way to take in the city (and remind yourself you’re on an island) is on two wheels. Cyclists can explore kilometres of oceanfront road, beaches and bays starting from the Inner Harbour. If you prefer a guided excursion to DIY exploration, check out The Pedaler. The eco-friendly outfitter offers rentals and thematic tours exploring the city’s trails, neighbourhoods and food scene (try “Castles, Hoods and Legends” or the “Happy Hour Ride”).
Take a Culinary Tour of Chinatown
Innovative chef Heidi Fink helms culinary tours of Victoria’s Chinatown—Canada’s oldest Chinatown. Follow her through Fisgard Street’s colourful stalls, markets and alleys, talking exotic produce and tasting Chinese barbecue and baked goods.
Hit the Trails at Mount Douglas Park
Just 20 minutes from downtown Victoria, Mount Douglas Park is a beloved urban hiking destination, home to more than 21 km of woodsy trails and vistas. The summit lookout offers show-stopping 360-degree views. Locals pair a hike with a visit to The Village, an all-day breakfast spot known for its latkes and West Coast benny. The new Torquay location is within walking distance of the park, so power up with brunch before you stretch your legs.
Pitch In and Count the Flowers
The annual Victoria Flower Count (March 3 to 9) is billed as a “light-hearted” event to promote community spirit, but its real purpose is to remind everyone else that the mildest climate in Canada is found right here. Last year’s tally was a cool 17 billion blooms.