Visit Victoria

In Victoria, of course!
Victoria, B.C. has Flower Power

 38th Annual Victoria Flower Count
March 3rd to March 9th, 2016
 This March, while the rest of Canada digs out from under the snow and contends with ice storms and frigid temperatures, we in Victoria will be spending our time quite differently. Under vivid blue skies in the warm sun, we will be found out in the gardens and parks counting our beautiful flowers and blossoms. 
So why would we want to spend our time counting the flowers you might ask? It's quite simple really, because we can, and we've been doing it for decades. 
This year, from March 3rd to March 9th we celebrate "The 38th Annual Victoria Flower Count", a very big deal in this neck of the woods. Last year we counted an astounding 1,392,393,203 blooms, beating the previous year’s record flower count of three quarters of a billion flowers.
This would immediately make one think, “Come on, how is it humanly possible for the good people of Victoria to count a gazillion flowers?”
One might imagine hundreds of gardeners out there, with pencil and paper in hand, counting every flower one by one, "Oh look Martha, there's a flower here, 80 blossoms over there on that tree, 26 beautiful blooms on this bush, so let's see, so far I have a total of 107, no wait wasn't it 105, oh dear me I have lost track, Martha my dear we have to start over, AGAIN, OK here we go, that's one flower..." 
The process I was picturing seemed more like an exercise in frustration and futility than fun. The “aha” moment arrived when I found a guide for the counters that helped me understand the process. So it isn’t really the presumed painstaking process of counting each and every flower one by one, as this is just for fun after all, but as in any sport, there are official flower counting rules, regulations and guidelines to help estimate the number of flowers, blossoms and blooms.  
The rules follow these guidelines:
Trees full of blossoms, for example get a count of 250,000 to 750,000 depending on the size of the trees. The same goes for bushes. 
How to count:
         •       Small tree full of blossoms = 250,000 blossoms
         •       Medium tree full of blossoms = 500,000 blossoms
         •       Large tree full of blossoms = 750,000 blossoms
         •       Small Heather bush = 500 blossoms
         •       Medium Heather bush = 1,000 blossoms
         •       Large Heather bush = 2,000 blossoms
Participants tally and submit their numbers to the media who provide a daily update throughout week, until every last flower has been counted and a grand total for the year is tabulated.
Victoria's Annual Flower Count draws thousands of visitors to their web site from every Province across Canada, 27 US states, and over 20 countries around the world. 
Counting flowers is just one of the ways we highlight and brag that Victoria is Canada’s tropics in the winter, the Florida of Canada, so to speak.  We can also kayak, cycle, fish, scuba dive, sail, windsurf, golf and hike all winter. While this is all fact, it is also shameless self promotion, because we want you to visit Victoria and stay in one of our beautiful vacation rentals. So if you would like to take a break from the ice and snow why not come to Victoria and you too can spend a leisurely sunny afternoon with us counting the flowers and more.
2016 looks to be the earliest year (in the 9 that I have lived here) for the cherry blossoms to appear.  On February 3rd, I saw a post on Facebook that was a picture of View Street between Douglas and Blanshard that was absolutely pink; it showed both sides of the street lined with bright pink blooms.  I thought it had to be a picture from last year that someone posted this year to be cheeky.  I was wrong.  I drove down Douglas St. (which had nothing to brag about in the flower department) and then I looked right up View Street, and sure enough, there was the exact scene in the photo that was very honestly posted.
"The Victoria Flower Count"  can be found on Face Book, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and can of course be found on YouTube.   
The flower count is organized by regional chambers of commerce, the Butchart Gardens and Tourism Victoria.
Everybody can participate. Submit counts to 250-360-BUDS or online at Victoria Flower Count.