The telltale signs of spring are starting to appear – the beginning of the cherry blossom buds, the green leaves of the crocuses, daffodils and tulips showing their faces. All promises of things to come as Mother Earth awakens from her winter’s sleep. Embrace our long-awaited days of spring with a quick and easy ride on the Victoria Clipper to see the vibrant city of Victoria, B.C. come alive with the return of sunshine, blue skies and lush gardens.
The Butchart Gardens becomes a magical spot to see each spring. Photo: The Butchart Gardens
Be sure to check out the excellent First Nation totem poles inside and outside the Royal B.C. Museum.
Biking with the family is an excellent way to take in ocean views along Dallas Road. Photo: The Pedaler
Castles are a key part of Victoria’s rich history and iconic architecture.
Enjoy delicious tea sandwiches and decadent desserts during Tea at the Empress. Photo: The Fairmont Empress
Orca whale watching season comes into full swing each spring around Victoria.
Colorful houseboats float along the docks of Fisherman's Wharf.
Be sure to bring snacks for the local harbor seals along Victoria's shore. Photo: Sinan Demirel
The Cowichan Valley just north of Victoria is perfect for a girls’ wine weekend getaway. Photo: Island Time Tours
Rows upon rows of grapes fill Cowichan Valley's vineyards. Photo: Island Time Tours
1. See The Butchart Gardens blossom to life
Celebrate the glory of Mother Nature turning green (and red, yellow and pink) as you immerse yourself in the veritable jungle of the 55-acre Butchart Gardens. Pick up a free Family Discover Walk worksheet and make a scavenger hunt out of your trek through the hundreds of swoon-worthy spring blooms and shrubs. Bonus points for stopping by the Rose Carousel for a whirl on the intricately hand-carved animals.
2. Immerse yourself in the history of the city
Should the occasional spring shower come your way, duck inside the Royal British Columbia Museum. Junior explorers can soak in the city’s rich culture through an array of interactive exhibits that allow them to slide back into the Ice Age or stand next to grizzlies in a massive forest. Don’t forget to swing by Thunderbird Park, located right next to the museum, to check out an impressive lineup of totem poles and First Nations monuments.
3. Explore the city on two wheels
Roll through the streets of Victoria to get an up close and personal view of Victoria from behind the handlebars of a bicycle on the guided Castles, Hoods and Legends Tour. Geek out over the stunning architecture of Craigdarroch Castle or pull into Beacon Hill Park to explore the lush grounds filled with free-roaming peacocks and a full-on petting zoo. Time your visit right to catch the farm’s entire African pygmy goat herd stampede past during the daily “Running of the Goats.”
4. Embark on a whale of an adventure
Have a soft spot for friends of the aquatic kind? Load yourself into an expedition catamaran on Five Star’s whale watching tour and prepare to get a dose of awesomeness. Scan the horizon for tall black dorsal fins cutting through the water, signaling the arrival of some of the resident orcas that ply the waters of the Salish Sea. If watching our cherished orcas jump, splash and play in sapphire waters doesn’t cause your face to light up with glee, we don’t know what will!
5. Get a taste of England
Dress your little prince and princesses up in their finest duds (tiaras optional) and give them the chance to live like royalty for the afternoon with tea at the Empress. Treat them to a feast of finger-sized bites such as PB&J sandwiches and vanilla rainbow cupcakes with the Prince and Princess Tea menu. Meanwhile, you’ll unwind and relax as you nosh on a slightly more grown-up version full of all kinds of delicious goodness. Talk about icing on the cake.
6. Befriend the local pups
Peek around the corner of Victoria’s Inner Harbour to find Fisherman’s Wharf, a hidden gem of floating seaside food. Make friends with the local harbor seals and snap a shot or two. When it comes time to refuel, head to Barb’s Place for delicious fish and chips, capped off with gelato from Jackson’s Ice Cream.
7. Sip your way through the Cowichan Wine Country
Spring break doesn’t just have to be about for fun the kids, adults need a break too, right? Grab your girlfriends (or your S.O.) for a relaxing weekend spent sipping your way through Vancouver Island’s burgeoning wine and balsamic scene on a tour of Cowichan Wine Country. Climb up the rugged Malahat Drive for incredible vistas of the glistening Saanich Inlet before descending into the heart of Cowichan Valley. Sniff, swirl and tilt your wineglass as you savor superb sips at three boutique vineyards.
Boasting everything from biking trips to amazing wildlife, few cities offer as many and as easily accessible opportunities for sightseeing and recreation. Come out of hibernation and enjoy a well-deserved break to Victoria this spring!