There’s a reason Victoria is the cycling capital of Canada: people here tend to ride all winter long, mostly unencumbered by snowfall and undeterred by seasonal rainfall. You’ll need to pack a good jacket and umbrella, to be sure, but, unlike elsewhere in the country, you won’t risk frostbite by spending too much time outdoors. After all, this is a city where spring starts in February.
Here are four things to do on a winter getaway.
Watch the waves during storm season
Sure, Tofino has gained an international reputation for its winter storm-watching, but it’s far from the only place on Vancouver Island where dramatic storms roll in. Dallas Road, Ogden Point and Esquimalt Lagoon are all top spots in Victoria to revel in nature’s seasonal drama.
See bald eagles at Goldstream Provincial Park
Goldstream Provincial Park is popular throughout the year for its scenic hiking trails. But in the winter you can also see bald eagles, who come for the easy meals at the end of salmon spawning. Go during Eagle Extravaganza, roughly early December to late January, to catch a glimpse of these birds.
Experience the Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens
Butchart Gardens is about more than just the elaborate flower displays of spring and summer. The more subtly beautiful winter season kicks off Dec. 1 with the Magic of Christmas, on until Jan. 6. Go ice skating, catch seasonal shows and see holiday displays throughout the gardens.
Embrace indulgence at Willow Stream Spa
One way to handle especially chilly winter days is to escape them completely. Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Empress offers the best means to do just that: the spa ritual, which encompasses a Finnish-style sauna, steam inhalation room and mineral pool. It will drive away all thoughts of the cold.
Getting there: WestJet flies to Victoria 15 times a day from Vancouver, Kelowna, Edmonton and Calgary.