Things to Do On Vancouver Island This Spring

Visit gardens near Victoria filled with cherry blossoms, attend “boat-to-table” food events during Feast Tofino and go salmon fishing off Port Hardy.

Photo by AlbertPego/Thinkstock

If you’re making your way to Vancouver Island this April or May, here are a few ways to make the most of the spring season.

Drink craft beer at the new Phillips tasting room

Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., located in the up-and-coming Rock Bay area of Victoria, opens a new tasting room and retail space in late April. The tasting room will serve sleeves and glasses of beer and there will be a growler bar. Pair your beer with some local snacks, like pretzels by Yonni’s Doughnuts or pepperoni sticks from Four Quarters Meats.

Admire the spring flowers in the Hatley Park Gardens

The Hatley Park Gardens, located at the Royal Roads University campus in Colwood, come alive with lush spring foliage this time of year. These gardens are lesser known than the Butchart Gardens, but are equally picturesque. Don’t miss the Japanese Gardens, which are packed with cherry blossoms and rhododendrons in the spring.

Go to Saltwest Naturals to learn how locally made sea salt is harvested

Saltwest Naturals in Sooke is one of Canada’s few sea salt production companies (it’s also one of its oldest). Starting April 3, you can visit Saltwest and get a free, 20-minute tour of the facility. You’ll learn about the seven steps of sea salt production and why it’s a particularly tricky feat when harvesting from the Pacific Ocean. Be sure to purchase some gourmet table sea salt and salt bath products before you leave.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Ucluelet Aquarium

The Ucluelet Aquarium is a catch and release-style aquarium and it was the first aquarium of its kind to open in Canada. After learning about the creatures, join in a free 30-minute guided tour to learn how this facility operates. You’ll find out what goes into running an aquarium, such as how the pumps and lines work, and how the building is engineered. These tours run every Wednesday afternoon.

Celebrate “boat-to-table” cuisine at Feast Tofino

For fishing communities like Tofino, springtime is harvest time. In celebration of that, the town holds an annual food event. Feast Tofino (running April 20 to May 6 in 2018) is three weeks of collaborative food events where both local and international chefs use local ingredients to create dishes that pay tribute to the area and its fisheries. Sometimes they even cook right on the beach.

Go salmon fishing with Codfather Charters in the North Island

The salmon fishing season in Port Hardy begins in mid-May, and by late May or early June fishers are very likely to catch Chinook salmon that could weigh as much as 45 pounds. Book a guided fishing experience through Codfather Charters for a multi-day fishing adventure. All the equipment is supplied and the fish you catch will be cleaned and packed for you to take home.