Festivals and Events
- Best of Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Island: High Tea to Low Tide
- Vancouver’s Totem Poles
- Vancouver’s Best Hiking
- Family Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
- Focus on Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Weekend Getaway
- Victoria Weekend Getaway
- A Tour Through Time
- Inside Passage Cruises
- Outdoor Adventures
- Winter Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
Officially, of course, February is still winter, but Victorians love the fact that spring arrives early on the west coast—which is the premise behind the Flower Count, over the last week in February. While for other Canadians summer is a long way off, locals count the number of blossoms in their own yards, in parks, and along the streets. Totals are tabulated, and gleefully reported across Canada.
The birthday of Queen Victoria (May 24) has been celebrated in Canada since 1834, and is especially relevant to those who call her namesake city home. The Inner Harbour is alive with weekend festivities that culminate in a downtown Victoria Day Parade on the holiday Monday. (Although Queen Victoria’s actual birthday was May 24, the event is celebrated with a public holiday on the Monday preceding May 25.)
While most visitors associate Victoria with afternoon tea at the Empress, cowboys know Victoria for the Luxton Pro Rodeo (250/478-4250), on the third weekend in May. The event features all traditional events as well as mutton-busting for the kids. Access to the Luxton Rodeo Grounds, west of the city toward Sooke, is free, with admission to the rodeo itself costing $12.
On the first Sunday in August, Symphony Splash (250/385-9771, www.symphonysplash.ca) is a feast for the eyes and ears. The local symphony orchestra performs from a barge moored in the Inner Harbour to masses crowded around the shore in this unique musical event that attracts upwards of 40,000 spectators who line the shore or watch from kayaks.
Running 10 days in late August at venues scattered across the city, the Victoria Fringe Festival (250/383-2663, www.victoriafringe.com) includes more than 350 acts performing at 6 venues throughout the city, including outside along the harbor foreshore and inside at the Conservatory of Music on Pandora Street. All tickets are under $15.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition