A lot of people come to Victoria for the flower gardens, especially the Butchart Gardens (which are actually not in Victoria, but are in nearby Brentwood Bay). While it's true that there are certain seasons for certain flowers, Victoria experiences such mild winters, and since most trees in Victoria are evergreens, it actually stays green year round.
Unlike the rest of Canada and the northern USA,, spring comes early in Victoria. We're talking about cherry blossoms being in full bloom as early as February. March, April and May are spring flower months where you'll find bulb flowers such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths in bloom. May and June are excellent months for rhododendrons. June, July, August and September are the best months for roses.
Unlike eastern Canada (specifically around Quebec), there are no forests of deciduous trees around Victoria, so do not come here expecting to find forests of reds, oranges, and golds in the autumn months. The forests here are evergreen, so they do not change colour. However, a lot of people grow maple trees, oak trees, Japanese maple trees, and other deciduous trees for their gardens. Most landscaped gardens do have beautiful autumn colours, and other autumn features such as ripened berries, fruit, and red ivy. And while winter isn't considered the best time for gardening, you'd be amazed at what still grows. Lots of plants are still around, and usually there are winter flowers, such as pansies, in bloom. And if you enjoy holiday events, most gardens have elaborate Christmas light displays.
Even if you don't get a chance to visit Buchart Gardens, flower lovers will not be disappointed as the center of Victoria is a giant outdoor garden, filled with vibrant magenta flowers spilling out of hanging baskets, more flowers lining the sidewalks, surrounding the inner harbour and accenting the statue of Queen Victoria.
My favorite flower photo was the one I took outside the Empress Hotel of the ladies of the Red Hat Society in their purple dresses. For those of you not familiar with this club, it is for ladies over 50 year old and the sole purpose seems to be just having fun. But I also loved the floral designed orca emerging from a bed of flowers.
And Rob, for all the flower photos you take, you'd think that you'd know the name of SOME of them LOL
Located on the Saanich Peninsula, Todd Inlet is the closest thing we have to a ghost town in Victoria. There was a factory out there at the turn of the century (you can see the smokestack from the Butchart Gardens), and remnants of houses, buildings and even automobiles remain in the forest today. There are beautiful paths to walk along, and if you're daring you can walk off into the woods. It has recently become a provincial park so it is no longer legal to take home articfacts- instead place them along the wall where hikers have displayed hundreds of small found items.
It is actually called Gowlland Todd Provincial Park, but no locals call it that.
A map of the park and surrounding areas, plus directions, can be found at http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/gowlland.htm
Fondest memory: If you are into gardening or want to see a perfect floral landscape, go to the Butchart Gardens. Located just north of Victoria, these gardens offer a diverse collection of flowers in a park-like setting. You can also use a flower guide to help with the identification of the flowers. This is also a great place to relax and stroll.
Thunderbird Park is located on the grounds of the Royal British Columbia Museum which is right next to The Empress Hotel on one side and the Parliament Buildings on the other. Nice collection of totem poles.
The totem poles were originally erected on a vacant lot in 1940 in an effort to preserve & display the Northwest's deteriorating art. After years of renovations to the poles, the lot became known as Thunderbird Park.
Douglas & Belleville Streets
Victoria's only clothing-optional beach is called Prior Lake, and it is located just on the outskirts of the city. No matter what other websites tell you, NO other beach in the area is entirely clothing optional (ESPECIALLY NOT any Cordova Bay or Island View Beaches!)
There is a dock that jets out into the lake at Prior Lake. Apparently this dock was built by (and paid for by) the nudists and they DO NOT appreciate people wearing swimsuits while using it. You will get many evil glares and possibly some rude comments.
The lake itself is small and warm. There is less "jungle" (read: plant life) than in other lakes, but the beach area is VERY small. In otherwords, prepare to undress! If you get to the lake and feel uncomfortable about stripping down, head to nearby Thetis Lake where you can (and must) wear your bathing suit!
From the Clothing Optional BC Website I provide you with the following directions:
From Victoria, head west on Hwy 1 for about 9 or 10 km. Take exit 8 (Helmcken Road) and keep right (to go north). On Helmcken Road, pass Victoria General Hospital (on your left) and make a left (west) onto Watkiss Way. At the next intersection, stay on this road -- do not turn onto West Burnside Road. Eventually, after about 2.5km (?), this road joins Highland Road. (It's no longer possible to get onto Highland Road directly from the highway.) Continue driving past the new subdivision on your right and into the park until you see the "No Parking On Pavement" signs near the silver-gated fire road and a (hard to see) sign marking Trillium Trail. Continue another 50m until you see a trail on your left starting from another silver gate (the portable toilet that used to be here is now further down the trail). From here, a short walk takes you to the lake where you will find a floating dock for suntanning
it was the first time i saw so many goose. i should say it was the first time i saw goose... i was so happy :) hearing kids playing water with their dog and looking at the Beaver Lake and see how goose swim slowly. you will probably forget about everything but admire how beautiful of nature
Fondest memory: there are so many sweet memories i had in Victoria. i won't forget the time i was there, it was the very first place i explore about Canada. i do not know if i will see this scene again: clear water that you could see their legs when they swam, feel water and it chills and kept you awake :)
Favorite thing: See an Arbutus Tree! The West Coast of NorthAmerica is the only or one of the only places in the world these grow. They like to be close to the Ocean, as the salt helps sustain them, and do not like alot of soil, so they are usually on the side of Mountains.
Cherry Blossoms in Victoria?! WoW!!!
Another one of my favorites; I sure am lucky to find them here! Love them to distractions :-D
(I've tons of photos on cherry blossoms sakura under my Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka pages.
Oh No! I'm thinking too much again.
Haha... my braincells are hyperactive.
But, let's enjoy the flowers & just absorb its essence...
Oh Yes! That's it! The essence... I knew it! That's why we like them so much!
Beaches in Victoria fall into two categories: for wildlife and for people. Not all the beaches are on the ocean! There are some very nice freshwater lakes in the area, including Elk, Beaver (to the north) and Thetis (to the west). For a clean sandy beach, you might try Cadboro Bay (near the University of Victoria) or Willows Beach in Oak Bay. For a more rugged beach, look beside Dallas Road (south of downtown), or by Mount Douglas or a bit further north opn Cordova Bay.
Fondest memory: Website:
On a nice and sunny day, take my car and drive up on top of either mount Douglas or the Malahat's and see how wonderful nature is.
Fondest memory: The water, the eternal snow, the trees, eagles and other birds, the great and fresh air! hhhmmmmm ah! :)
Seeing the town underneath you and the mountains with the snow not so far from you, the greatest view.
I used to take my friend up there as a surprise, sometimes a pic-nic with his favorite cd or just a nice surprise.
Favorite thing: We had heard about the Galloping Goose (named after a noisy locomotive on that defunct railway) and we wanted to cycle along that trail. It was great! For more info on this fabulous trail: http://www.sookenet.com/sooke/activity/trails/goose.html
Victoria and the whole surrounding area on the Island is incredible. If ever visiting British Columbia you must go to Vancouver Island. Beautiful old growth forests, ocean scenery and more!
Fondest memory: The Butchart Gardens are amazing, and must be visited.
Hundreds of Rhodos and Azaleas.
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