When it comes to spring in Canada, the west coast is always ahead of the game. In late February, all over Vancouver Island, tiny little buds on the trees appear, snow starts to melt and the days start getting sunnier but in March, the explosion of spring really begins. If you love spring as much as we do, there are lots of great ways to celebrate the changing season, the warmer weather and the stunning natural beauty all over the city. We’ve rounded up our favourite signs of spring on Vancouver Island, where you can find them and how to enjoy this gorgeous time of year!
If you’re staying right in Victoria in March, you won’t be able to help but notice the gorgeous explosion of pink blossoms on the trees all over the city. These trees are unique to Victoria and have come to be the backdrop of spring in the city thanks to many donations of these beautiful trees from the Japanese Canadian community over the years. The best way to experience this stunning phenomenon is to take walks along tree-lined streets all over the city. Later this month, there will be an in-depth look at where to go and the best routes around the city to make the most of these gorgeous trees so check back in soon! And if you want to go solo, check out this interactive cherry blossom map to make your own routes!
When it comes to spring flowers, there may not be a better place to experience the breadth and beauty of spring blossoms than the world famous Butchart Gardens. Nestled right along the shore of the Saanich Inlet near Sidney, this quarry-turned-floral-paradise has been one of the main attractions of the South Island since its inception over 100 years ago. Here, guests can wander through five, enormous themed gardens and see the splendour that our west coast climate can support in the early stages of spring.
First Swallows of the Year
In early spring on Vancouver Island, one of the first swallow species to arrive is the Violet Green Swallow who feed exclusively in flight on specific insects. If you’re an avid hiker, you can find these beautiful, colourful swallows near rivers and mountain lakes where they can find the highest concentration of hatching insects during early spring. If you’re looking for these birds, head out to Matheson Lake near Sooke, or search along the trails near Lake Cowichan and you’re sure to find these little guys as you walk the trail around Comox Lake in the Comox Valley. Look for the classic split swallow tail and their distinctive purple, green feathers that flash in the sunshine – these beautiful birds are a sure sign that spring is truly around the corner.
Turtles in Beacon Hill Park
If you want to know whether it’s going to be a warm spring day while staying downtown Victoria don’t look at your app, just head across the street to Goodacre Lake in Beacon Hill Park – if the turtles are out, you know that it’s going to be gorgeous! These red-eared sliders are not native to the area but are a staple in the fauna that you can find in Beacon Hill Park and have called this lake home for many, many years.
As the weather gets warmer, you’ll be able to see one of the local colonies of Blue Herons returning to Beacon Hill Park. From March to May, these gorgeous water birds breed and build nests in the trees around Goodacre Lake in Beacon Hill Park. This colony started as just two birds in the early 1980s and today is a huge colony that migrates and nests together!
Even before daylight savings comes on March 13th, there is no doubt that the days are getting longer, a sure sign that the winter months are behind us and we can start getting ready for warmer, sunnier days. During the longer daylight hours, there are a few activities that you can enjoy for longer and take advantage of the calm before the heat of late spring and early summer bring crowds and noise. Bundle up and go to an empty beach like Ross Bay near downtown Victoria or book a fishing charter in Sidney, Sooke or the Comox Valley for the very best experience. Whale watching in late March or early April is an excellent experience and if you want to go on a road trip up to the Cowichan Valley wine country, the spring is an ideal time to beat the crowds and enjoy some sunny days in the vineyard.