Welcome to a warm(er) and rainy new week! I’m sure it’s a welcome change for the slight majority of you who told our recent poll that you prefer your winter weather this way.
Read on for more about what weather you can expect outdoors (and, if you’re unlucky, indoors) for the rest of the winter. But first, big news for another love-it-or-hate-it outdoor phenomenon: pickleball.
Today’s approx read time: 4 minutes
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A “hub of all things pickleball” will open this spring
The current indoor courts in Crystal Garden. Photo: Mark Brennae / Capital Daily
Six private indoor courts will be built in a Langford industrial space, under the name the Victoria Pickleball Centre (VPC). That group behind it is a partnership between two local companies with a stake in the sport: PlayCo which builds pickleball and tennis courts, and Courtside Sports, which sells racquet sport equipment.
It’s part of a wave of new pickleball infrastructure, as the region tries to accommodate the very fast-growing sport without riling up tennis players or neighbours. The lack of indoor courts spurred the City of Victoria to temporarily put one in Crystal Garden, but that only lasts three more weeks.
Victoria plans to add six more outdoor courts in Topaz Park, while Saanich council just agreed to build six of its own near Cordova Bay. North Saanich, though, rejected a proposal last week for a court at Cy Hampson Park.
For more on the future of the growing local sport, and on what will—or won’t—be done about the infamous noise…
Bear seen near Elk Lake, Saanich Police warned on Sunday afternoon.
With cold snap over, expect mild winter the rest of the way
Mild skies seen in Feb. 2022. File photo: Colin Smith for Capital Daily.
In the space of 10 days there has been a 20-degree shift in weather in Greater Victoria. Lows reached below -11 (and even -20 with the wind chill) on Jan. 12, while current highs are +8. That warmth has brought plenty of water, from the melting snow that sparked flood and pooling concerns on the coast to the rain expected to visit the South Island for most of this week.
February forecast looks warm
Expect mild temperatures but consistent rain for the next two weeks and into February, Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan told CHEK this weekend.
In mild winter, big chill was a big departure
The cold, snowy stretch of January was unusual not only for the region—it brought Victoria’s coldest day in more than half a century—but for the El Niño winter we’re currently in. El Niño typically means warm weather for the West Coast, which held true until this month; December was Victoria’s warmest on record.
In fact, there have been fears that this El Niño could make summer droughts even worse. On Jan. 1, Island snowpack was just 39% of normal, though there were signs of improvement by Jan. 15.
A brief, but memorable freeze
The freezing days gave some locals rare winter experiences, including ice skating on Panama Flats and free-diving beneath frozen ocean in Brentwood Bay.
But the freeze also caused havoc with transportation in many areas, and there were six outdoor deaths reported for the Island for Jan. 1-16.
Elevated avalanche risk on Island
The snow and freezing rain that fell on Island mountains pushed the danger rating up to “High”(4/5) but it has since dipped back to “Considerable” (3/5). Last week, Avalanche Canada warned the public to be cautious in the backcountry.
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Let's spread kindness throughout Greater Victoria
It could be holding the door open for someone, paying for their coffee, or simply saying "hello!" Now, more than ever, we need a little kindness in our lives.
Join the Victoria Foundation in celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week, from February 12-17, to encourage community members to do something nice while asking for nothing in return, except that they “pay it forward” with a small act of kindness.
Check out our RAK Week ideas for adults and children, and follow us on social media @victoriafoundation for a little kindness inspiration in February.
And if someone does something kind for you during the week, please share experiences on social media using #RAKweekYYJ. Don’t forget to tag the Victoria Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn!
☕️ Now open: Rudi Express is open on weekdays from 8am-3pm, serving up rotating sandwich features, fresh baked goods, salads, and more. The team behind Wind Cries Mary opened Rudi in late December in the old Sherwood location.
📷 A pair of California quail look dapper—and perfectly posed—in the snows of Salt Spring. [Photo]
🍽️ Dine Around and Stay in Town Victoria kicks off its 20th anniversary with its annual Gala Launch. Enjoy bites and bevvy’s from over 50 Victoria eateries, as well as live music, circus performances, and more! You don’t want to miss this one – get your tickets!*
🗺️ US travel show visits Victoria: Samantha Brown's Places To Love checks out our whales, waterfront, cuisine, and culture. The episode debuted on PBS TV yesterday and is now up for free online.
Gorge oil spill contained—but the smell remains
The oil is believed to have leaked from a heating oil tank into the drainage ditch, the Songhees First Nation told CHEK. That tank has been drained and booms were successfully used in the water.
Major construction on Interurban in 2026
BC Hydro will install a new cable after 50 years. Some Saanich commuters and Camosun students worry that single-laning could badly bottleneck the already crowded major artery. Planning is ongoing, with a virtual open house on Feb. 2. [Saanich News]
Father and son, both retirees, build (mini) houses together
There are many father-son construction companies, but few build what Ray and Ding Young, 91, do: Little Free Libraries that mimic the homes they sit outside. They just completed their 20th—based on an ornate house older than Ding—and build many other items together using recycled pallets. [CTV]
🎹 Arthur Rowe: As a part of UVic’s Faculty Concert Series, the pianist will play Brahms, Schubert, and Bartók at Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Today. 8pm.
📽️ The pinnacle of silent comedy: Cinecenta will play Chaplin’s City Lights twice tomorrow, with all seats $5. [Tickets]
Hockey Day in Victoria as the Inner Harbour hosts national broadcast of the classic sports event. [Sunday newsletter]
“Honestly, I just want to buy more bait and go fishing,” says Denman Island's $500K lottery winner. [BCLC]
Snow day for the goats as they make their daily run through a winter wonderland in Beacon Hill. [Photos]
Victoria 2, Kamloops 6 as the Blazers spoil Victoria’s Hockey Day weekend series.
See a power line burning in the snow in this BC Hydro video from Galiano, below: