Vancouver blooms in time for March Break

Cherry blossoms in Stanley Park come out in February — and that should make the rest of Canada jealous. Vancouver’s warmth in the winter is a cruel joke on the rest of the country, it can seem. (Julia Pelish/

Story by Katie Marti Contributor

VANCOUVER — I’ve been living in Vancouver for a couple of years now and it still blows my mind to see buds and blossoms in February as I run along the beach in my T-shirt, while other parts of the country battle yet another winter storm.

Don’t believe me, over there in Halifax or Ottawa? Put another log on the fire and read on … this March Break, you just might want to spend a warm-weather vacation in Canada.

Reason No. 1: The flowers
The West End of Vancouver is already in the pink with trees in bloom along Davie Street and into Stanley Park. A stroll or bike ride in this part of town is a treat for the senses thanks to the blushing branches lining the streets and sidewalks. Add a splash of sunlight and a gentle breeze off the water and you’ll suddenly be inspired to open the windows, clear out the cobwebs and send winter packing. The best part: This is just the beginning. The cherry blossoms keep bursting onto the scene throughout March, peaking during the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs April 5-28. For more information on the flowers and the festival, including up-to-the-minute, prime blossom-spotting locations around the city, check out the festival website and blog.

Reason No. 2: The beaches
There’s no need to head south if you are craving some beach time. Vancouver’s got 10 beaches within city limits, each one offering a stunning view, and great trails for running, walking or riding. While I can’t in good conscience recommend bikinis or board shorts this time of year, I can suggest grabbing your camera and a cup of coffee and heading down to the water for some sun and fresh air. Take a book, take a blanket and take comfort in the fact that, while you may get a bit of sand in your shoes, it could be worse. It could be snow.

Reason No. 3: It’s cheap(er)
Despite the fact that Vancouver knows how to make the best of an otherwise dreary time of year, it is still a bit of a shoulder season in the hospitality industry. Many hotels and restaurants offer special rates or, at the very least, keep their rates lower than what you can expect to pay during the summer. Some hotel deals even include a three-night stay for the price of two when booking Vancouver vacations from now until the end of April.

So go ahead. Give winter the cold shoulder and come take a sneak peek at spring. In Vancouver, it really is just around the corner.

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