Where’s That Bloom? Guess the Victorian Street or Neighbourhood!

Ah, the tell-tale signs of spring. Birds flock to the skies to cheer on the season, our wind-breakers are replaced with sweaters, and here in Victoria, pink petals line our streets! Victoria’s early flower bloom is a subject of envy to much of the country… and we don’t feel bad boasting about it a little!

Having launched Greater Victoria’s 47th Annual Flower Count on Wednesday, all week, flower fans are tallying emerging blossoms throughout Victoria’s neighbourhoods. Each year, Flower Count is held to bolster community pride and increase awareness of Greater Victoria as an attractive tourism destination and an incredible place to work, live and play.  Make sure to follow along Flower Count’s Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages for the count’s latest updates, giveaways, and daily leaderboards. 

This year on the Going Local blog, we wanted to play a guessing game with you. See if you can guess these Victorian neighbourhoods based on these flower photos, and if you’re TRULY Victoria-savvy, guess right down to the street name. We’ll give you a few hints throughout the blog on where this could be. See how many you get right, then go boast to your best buds. It’s time to play… Where’s That Bloom?  

 

A Whole Garden of Blossoms!

We’re starting off easy here!  The location of this picture is world-renowned as a National Historic Site of Canada, enacted in 1904. These gardens, to this day, are still owned and managed by the great-grand-daughter of the founding-family. 

Nearby businesses include the Brentwood Bay Resort (spectacular floor-to-ceiling views), the Arbutus Room (seasonal, local dining with live-music to pair), and the Victoria Butterfly Gardens (think: flamingos, poison dart frogs, and tropical birds).

A: That’s right, this picture was taken at the Butchart Gardens!  At this time of year, the gardeners of Butchart are busier than ever preparing hundreds of varieties of flowers for the 1 million spectators that visit each year. There are a total of five gardens to explore at Butchart – the original Sunken Garden, the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Italian Garden and the Mediterranean Garden. They even have a Rose Carousel, a Gift Shop, and a Gelataria featuring 12 seasonal gelato flavours. Their Spring Prelude event is going on until March 20th, where the Blue Poppy Restaurant is transformed into a dazzling indoor garden spring display complete with koi ponds, water features and flagstone paths.

The First to Bloom

 
The stunning cathedral may give our answer away!  Cherry blossoms frame this intersection particularly early, with some of the first blossoms of Victoria poking their heads out on this street year after year.

Nearby businesses include Front Runners/New Balance Victoria (for all of your running and athletic apparel needs).  Just a few blocks down is the trendy Cactus Club Café, a wonderful pick for happy-hour bellinis.   Name the street, the intersection, then the cathedral for full points!

A: This photograph was taken from View Street, the exact intersection being View and Blanshard, in downtown Victoria.  The cathedral is called Saint Andrew’s Cathedral or St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, which was dedicated in 1892 by Bishop John Lemmens. A generous, giving church, St. Andrew’s Cathedral holds the 9 – 10 Club, which is a soup kitchen that feeds breakfast to over 300 people a day, five days a week. Some other businesses nearby these blooms are Bin 4 Burger Lounge, one of the most popular choices for juicy burgers on the whole island. 

Where’s This Park? 

Peacocks and fountains and florals… oh my. You’re either thinking, what is this dreamland? Or: I know this dreamland! This ethereal setting features a cycling paths, a walkway to the ocean, and the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole. It is a spectacular green space to roam, cycle, or walk through, with plenty of sights to entertain all-ages.

Nearby is the convenient Helm’s Inn (charming, close-to-everything guest rooms), St. Ann’s Academy and National Historic Site (another wonderful park to roam!), The Parkside Hotel & Spa (overlooks St. Ann’s!) and the highly popular Beagle Pub.

A: If you guessed Beacon Hill Park, you are correct!  Beacon Hill erupts into blooms during the springtime, but it is a highly popular park during all four seasons.  On-site is Beacon Hill Children’s Farm – known for adorable baby goat run! – however, it is closed this year. You can also visit Mile 0, which marks the start of the 8,000 km stretch of the Trans Canada Highway, no place else than here in Victoria!  This marker is also home to a statue of Canadian hero Terry Fox, who’s cross-Canada run was to end at this very point.

A School of Blossoms
 

These are getting trickier… the hint will go far here! These beautiful blooms are a little further out from Victoria’s core, but well worth the drive. They are located in garden grounds that actually competed with Butchart Gardens, back in the early 1900’s. On these same grounds, a number of movies were filmed here, including X-Men: The Last Stand and Deadpool. 

Nearby settings are the Esquimalt Lagoon, a federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary that flocks together just as many ornithologists as it does, birds and waterfowl. Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites of Canada are also nearby, as Canada’s first west coast lighthouse.  Ps: You’ll get extra points if you guess the National Historic Site, the University name, and the type of flowers these are!

A: If you guessed that this was Hatley Castle Park National Historic Site… you are correct! Bonus points go to the guess Royal Roads University, which takes place on the 565 acres of these grounds, and another point awarded if you identified that these were Camelia flowers. Hatley Castle was built by the same family that built Craigdaroch Castle Historic House Museum in Victoria’s Rockland neighbourhood. It was the host of a Military College before continuing on as a university. The rich history beeming through these grounds is regailed in a small museum located in the basement of Hatley Castle. 

The Final Round…

Our game-finisher may be the trickiest one of them all. A hint is that in the background, behind these flowering white blossoms, is a body of water. 

An additional hint: Victoria Harbour Ferry Company Ltd. offers a popular tour here in these waters, sharing the rich history of Coast Salish peoples who have lived on the land for over 4,000 years. Point Ellice House Museum & Gardens is also situated here, a historic home that now operates as a museum of Victoria’s early days. Enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens or enter the house to see one of the largest collections of late Victorian and early Edwardian objects in their original setting. Where’s that Bloom? 

A: The answer is… The Gorge Waterway! If you’re wanting to disconnect and unwind, we recommend taking in the sights of this beautiful park. Galloping Goose Regional Trail starts just across the water as well, if you’re looking for a more active adventure. 

Of course, every active adventure ends with… hunger.  Don’t give up the stunning waterfront views by picking Glo Restaurant + Lounge to dine at. You can relax on their well-loved patio with a refreshing cocktail and enjoy watching the dragon boaters and paddlers go by.  Their menu features casual favourites like fish & chips and thin-crust pizzas to high-end steaks and seafood. 

How did you do? If you guessed most of these correctly, you may just be Victoria’s resident flower expert.  Feel free to spread the springtime cheer with your friends, by tagging any photos you take with #FlowerCount or #ExploreVictoriaLocal. Who knows, you may even be featured by us one day!

HAPPY SPRINGTIME, TO THE GARDEN CITY!
 

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Destination Greater Victoria is honoured to be based on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples of the Songhees Nation and the Esquimalt Nation, whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.