We’ve all heard the expression April showers bring May flowers. Well, things work a little differently in the City of Gardens. Come March, Victoria beats the rest of the nation to the punch and bursts to life with thousands of blooms, ranging from fluffy pink cherry blossoms to bright yellow daffodils.

Join in the floral extravaganza and take part of the annual Victoria Flower Count, which serves as Canada’s early bird prediction for the spring season. Every neighborhood in Victoria comes together to tally up the blossoms, with last year’s count reaching a staggering 19,948,306,872 blooms!

As you wander the city, keep an eye out for cherry and plum trees, which usually blossom in late March. Or swing by The Butchart Gardens, where you’ll be greeted by the sweet scent of spring’s early arrival. As you follow your nose around town, be sure to set aside time to check out the diverse array of events and activities. To help get your trip planning started, here’s a rundown of 12 things to do in Victoria this March.

1. Best of Victoria Food & Brew Tour – Starting March 1

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Explore downtown on foot with a tour of popular Victoria hangouts, sampling the local fare as you go! With a fun, knowledgeable local guide, you’ll be treated like a regular with no waits or lines. Munch on dishes from Canada and beyond, expertly paired with some of the city’s most coveted craft brews. Book this activity with Clipper, learn more.

2. Afternoon Tea at The Butchart Gardens – Starts March 1

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Initiated as a gesture of hospitality by Jennie Butchart herself, Afternoon Tea at the renowned Butchart Gardens has bloomed into a truly gourmet experience. Nestled between the property’s Rose and Italian Gardens, Butchart’s esteemed culinary team serves up three tiers of sweet and savory treats to pair with a steaming pot of tea. The tables may be covered with white linen but the vibe is anything but stuffy, still echoing the gracious atmosphere that Jennie Butchart intended.

3. Pacific Baroque Festival – March 5

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Close your eyes and get swept away by the swelling sounds of string instruments at the Pacific Baroque Festival. Settle into a seat at the striking Alix Goolden Performance Hall for an evening of serenading from violins, flutes and even a harpsichord. Celebrating the Galant style of Baroque music – marked by a simpler, more direct musical language – this festival is a great entry point for newcomers to the genre!

4. Spring Vintage Fair – March 6 & 7

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Victoria’s reputation for phenomenal vintage shopping makes it a must-visit destination for thrifters and antique collectors looking to discover their new favorite spot. Stop by during the Vintage Spring Fair for a chance to peruse rare and retro clothing, accessories, décor and jewelry from a range of different eras all under one roof. Browse more than 40 booths as you make your rounds, just be sure to bring cash and your best haggling skills!

5. Victoria Beer Week – March 6 – 14

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So you’ve heard of Vancouver Island’s acclaimed breweries, but haven’t had time to check them all out? Lucky for you, Victoria Beer Week brings them all together for one big sudsy celebration.

Whether you prefer hopped-up IPAs or rich, dark porters, you’ll have access to a wide array of locally-made craft brews at a number of beer-centric events around town. Kick off the week at Victoria Public Market to sample brand new, unreleased ales from some of BC’s best breweries. Or sip on a selection of more than 25 mellow, cask-aged concoctions at the ever-popular Saturday Night Cask tasting.

6. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – March 17

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Given Victoria’s European tendencies, it’s no surprise that come St. Patrick’s Day, the city embraces Irish culture as its very own. Locals know that Irish Times Pub is the place to be on Patty’s Day, serving up traditional Irish comfort food and live Irish music every night of the week. Looking to kick up your heels and do a little jig? Hit the dance floor at downtown mainstays like Darcy’s Pub or The Sticky Wicket to get your Riverdance on.

7. Butchart Gardens Spring Launch

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This time of year, The Butchart Gardens shift into overdrive. The sweet aroma of hyacinths drift past your nose. Fiery orange crocuses catch your eye, bursting from the earth like a ball of flames. Overhead, fluttering clusters of pink crabapple blossoms tumble from the branches of nearby trees, rounding out the display.

Spring’s arrival certainly isn’t shy about announcing itself at Butchart! Whether you zip up for a day trip or make it a leisurely overnight visit, do not miss the chance to stroll among these early arrivers and get your first taste of the spring season.

8. Pacific Rim Whale Festival – March 20 – 28

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North Vancouver Island is known for its scenic winding roads, dense forests and stretches of wide-open beachfront. What you might not know is that the region is also home to the island’s largest whale festival! The neighboring coastal towns of Tofino and Ucluelet celebrate the annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival to mark the beginning of the gray whale migration, and the return of whale watching season. The calendar of events and activities includes beach cleanups, guest speakers, whale spotting outings and nature tours!

9. Culinaire – March 26

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Fancy yourself a foodie? Sample and sip your way around the crème de la crème of the region at this year’s Culinaire celebration. Featuring more than 60 chefs, bakers, mixologists and brewers from all over Vancouver Island, this is an event your palate won’t soon forget!

10. Spend an afternoon in Beacon Hill Park

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Take a break from pounding the downtown pavement with a visit to Victoria’s greenspace oasis, Beacon Hill Park. Weave through the early-blooming rhododendron, enjoy a moment of tranquility by Goodacre Lake and keep your eyes peeled for the roving wild peacocks!

Have some little ones in tow? Be sure to save time for a visit to the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm! Your kiddos will have the chance to get up close and personal with pigs, donkeys, chickens and even a herd of African Pygmy goats.

11. Grab lunch at Red Fish Blue Fish

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Waterfront local fave Red Fish Blue Fish reopens for the year starting in March! Sidle up to their up-cycled cargo container along the Inner Harbour for fresh, sustainable-minded takes on fish ‘n’ chip shop classics. Munch on tempura-battered wild salmon, dig into some Caribbean jerk fish tacos or feast on a crispy west coast oyster sandwich. It’s impossible to order wrong at this seafood haven.

12. Hop on a Harbour Taxi

Climb aboard a cheerful yellow Water Taxi at one of the 14 seaside locations around the city for what’s easily the most charming way to get around the Inner Harbour. Hitch a ride over to Victoria West to grab lunch on the balcony at Spinnakers, embark on an expertly guided Gorge Tour, or pile in with some friends for their famed Pickle Pub Crawl!

 

With fragrant flowers every which way you turn and none of the bustling summer crowds, early spring is the perfect time to visit Victoria. Whether you’re looking to nibble on some local fare, celebrate St. Patty’s Day in an authentic Irish pub, or wow your little ones with a stampede of pygmy goats, you can do it all in BC’s capital city this month!

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Feature photo: Courtesy of The Butchart Gardens