Exploring Victoria in the Spring (The Restaurants Too!)

Recent sunset at Clover Point, on the foot of Victoria's Beacon Hill Park.

Recent sunset at Clover Point, on the foot of Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park.

Victoria is exploding in early spring.

On a delightful Sunday afternoon bike ride, I found myself encountering signs of Spring popping up all over Fairfield and Beacon Hill Park. Some days, it’s easy to see why Victoria’s reclaimed the moniker of Canada’s Most Romantic City.

In Victoria’s oldest park, blankets of daffodils are on the verge of blooming. Their shoots are visible in clumps all over the verdant grasses, 6″ high in most spots. I’ve already seen some in bloom on the amazing Dallas Road beach cliffs.

Snowbells and crocuses, oh, my! And so much more. Even some cherry blossoms are being overachievers are leaving their still-budding competition behind.

Daffodil shoots! In Beacon Hill Park. Soon, a field of flowers will arrive.

Daffodil shoots! In Beacon Hill Park. Soon, a field of flowers will arrive.

354 days ago, I moved to this city. I wound up injured and unable to do much exploring until summer, so I missed much of Spring as it unfolded beyond James Bay. I’m so excited to see Victoria get gussied up in all her prettiest colours, and I’m already hatching plans to do some exploring followed by great meals out.

So, it’s perfect timing, then, that Dine Around & Stay in Town/Victoria launches this week. A great time for anyone to get out and explore this city, especially if you’re a Mainlander looking to visit this town before the unruly masses of tourists descend in May and beyond.

If you’re local, shake off the winter funk, get out and see the blooming camelia bushes and all kinds of other fantastic flowers, and cap off your day with a fantastic meal.

If you’re from out of town, stay at a great restaurant, explore Dallas Road Beach for an appetite-inducing walk, cut back towards town through Beacon Hill Park, and maybe grab a bite at Cook Street Village’s Pizzeria Prima Strada, voted one of Victoria’s Top 5 Restaurants in Vancouver Magazine, for its crazy $20 three-course menu, and walk it off on your way back downtown.

From $79 to $129, many hotel deals are available, all in great downtown locations allowing for easy walking distance home after one drink too many or a long day of sight-seeing. (Even the Inn at Laurel Point has a rate… and if you ask for room #5, you can try to spot the severed head ghosts rumoured to haunt that room of the hotel.)

This city changes dramatically as it comes alive with tourist season, so it’s a nice time to capitalise on all things Victorian before those crazy days descend.

A carpet of crocuses spotted in a yard in Fairfield. Spring colour is here!

A carpet of crocuses spotted in a yard in Fairfield. Spring colour is here!

A lot of restaurants will take reservations during the Dine Around specials, so don’t hesitate to call and save your spot, because this town loves to eat out.

After San Francisco, Victoria has the most restaurants per capita in North America. There’s a strong farm-to-plate movement here in Victoria that really speaks to the passion that some of the restaurants are creating their menus with. Places like Canoe Brew Pub  are attempting to make local quality ingredients staples for all kinds of great gastropub offerings, and they’re offering a couple prix fixed menus on the Dine Around dealio as well. Plus: Beer!

Maybe you want  something luxuriously exotic like the Fairmont Empress’ legendary Bengal Lounge or down-home exotic like The Reef. Maybe you’ve been wanting to visit Cafe Brio for some time but never quite have the scratch for such a treat.

Who knows, maybe you just wanna eat a whole lotta food for two weeks. You’re allowed. And now you can afford it.

Dine & Stay Around Town is an undeniably good deal. Local or visiting, it’s the best time to hit some of the places you might not have gotten around to, or places you love and deserve a break at.

Make some plans, discover Spring in the city, and enjoy some great food when your day’s coming to a close, because it’s that time of year again.

But get it while the getting’s good, ‘cos it’s all done on March 10th.

One of the killer TRUE Napolitan pizzas from Pizza Prima Strada. Photo courtesy Pizza Prima Strada.

One of the killer TRUE Napolitan pizzas from Pizza Prima Strada. Photo courtesy Pizza Prima Strada.

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