March 17 - Behind the blossoms

Victoria's cherry tree history. Spring weather & winter vegetables. Esauimalt axes new police station


Good morning !

It was just two weeks ago that we were dealing with snow, hail, and subzero temperatures. Now, though, the sunshine and highs near 20 have us firmly into spring—even verging on summer.


How are you spending this warm weekend?

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Today’s approx. read time: 5 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: ☀️ 18 / 5

Tomorrow: ☀️ 17 / 5

Day after: ☀️ 17 / 5


The deep roots of Victoria’s beloved spring blossoms

Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

We’re seeing plenty of signs of the onset of spring, with the arrival March, the clock change, and warm weather. But the most iconic sign of spring in Victoria may still be the famous pink and white blossoms.

Those cherry blossoms also have a greater significance—a part of Victoria's history that has persevered for nearly a century. The local Japanese community created beautiful gardens during Victoria's first 75 years as a city. And at the quarter-century anniversary parade, they replicated those trees with paper mache bows and blossoms for a float.

They then used the first-place prize money to buy 1,000+ more Japanese cherry trees to donate to the City. And when xenophobic policies forced many of them out of the region, those trees still stood to mark that legacy—and to welcome some of them back, decades later.

It’s that time of year again: Read our blossom story here.

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Enjoy the sun while you can: Rain expected to return midweek.

Multiple demonstrations and rallies expected downtown today.

Cougars 16 Royals 5 across Fri. and Sat. hockey games. Royals have lost six straight games, with two more to play before playoffs.

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


Esquimalt scales down big Public Safety Building plans, cutting police station

Photo (cropped) via Township of Esquimalt

The municipality’s upcoming major development has been reworked to trim the scale—and the cost. The price had ballooned to $62M as of an update last year, $20M over budget. This would have made the project “financially imprudent,” the latest release said.

A new fire hall will remain the main part of the project, with additional offices and training space as well as CRD offices. Construction will begin this summer and end summer 2026. The building was chosen five years ago as a project on which to spend some of the McLoughlin Point compensation from the CRD.

In explaining the new changes to the Times Colonist, Barb Desjardins pointed to the $14M in savings, the uncertainty of who will police Esquimalt going forward, and VicPD’s comfort with just remaining in the municipal hall.

Esquimalt is still looking to end its current deal with VicPD, arguing that it pays too much for core costs rather than its own needs. The options, discussed last month, include starting its own force, negotiating a deal with VicPD or SaanichPD, or bringing in the RCMP.

Rendering of previous planned version


6 Victoria restaurants perfecting winter vegetables

Photo (cropped): Eva Schnitzelhaus / Facebook

The past few days have seen a dramatic swing in temperature, from lows near 0 as recently as Thursday to highs near 20 today. But while warm spring weather seems like the first real burst of life and growth, the chilly recent weeks were actually a prime harvest time.

Late winter is ideal for certain vegetables and many Victoria restaurants are experimenting with these seasonal local ingredients, exploring both taste and texture.

From root vegetables and cabbages to winter squashes and hardy greens, these winter veggies have taken centre stage across the city.


Smart organizations know when to adapt

Every organization faces challenges, and while no one is immune to crises, taking proactive steps to minimize future disruptions can save valuable time and resources (if the unexpected happens).

“By their nature, crises make people uncomfortable.” says Julie Gathercole, an instructor with Continuing Studies at the University of Victoria (UVic). “Instead, learning how to navigate a crisis will give you the confidence to manage that discomfort when a crisis occurs.”

From security threats to natural disasters, planning ahead gives you more control during an emergency. If you want to be prepared and resilient when it matters most, invest in your skills in areas including crisis communication, emotional intelligence or business continuity planning.

What's your strategy to evolve or adapt to change? Discover new learning opportunities.

⭐️ Capital Picks

🐟 It’s herring spawning time—see how they change the colour of the water around Denman. [Photos]

🐈‍⬛ Smooth, soft, soothing tunes on the new EP was it a cat i saw? from local band racecar. [Listen]

🍸️ Best cocktails in Victoria? Cast your vote for your favourite spot in the Tasting Victoria Best Restaurant Awards in this category and 17 more!

🤝 Now hiring: Program Coordinator at Scale Collaborative 

🗞️ In Other News

Courtney Room’s wine wins platinum, in an Island first
The fine dining eatery in The Magnolia Hotel & Spa became the first restaurant on the Island to get a platinum with distinction award at the Vancouver International Wine Festival for its wine program.

Camosun finishes 4th in college-level hoops finals
The Chargers men charged up the consolation bracket and had a chance on Sat. to grab bronze—the program's first medal ever—but fell to Humber. Meanwhile VIU finished at #7; the Mariners held their own after entering the playoffs outside the national top 10 (despite briefly being #2 on that list in Jan).

Sidney's Cedarwood Inn site will become 97-unit development
Council approved a plan for the site by the water, south of downtown, which has seen several proposals. It will become 49 condos (with a rooftop patio) and 48 townhomes (with a central courtyard.) [Citified]

🗓️ Things to do

🍀 Daniel Lapp’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: The fiddler will be joined by Irish dancers, bagpipers, Celtic singers and more at this St. Patty's Day performance at Hermann’s Jazz Club. Today. Afternoon show 1pm, evening show 6pm.

🎶 Walk Right Back: This concert-based musical showcases the music of The Everly Brothers at McPherson Playhouse. Today. 3pm.

🇮🇪 The Seaside St. Patrick’s Day Party: Fiddler Pierre Schryer, folk dance specialist Danielle Enblom, and guitarist Adam Dobres will perform at Mary Winspear Centre for St. Patrick's Day. Today. 7pm.

💚 St. Patrick’s Day Party: The Hounds of Cuchulain will lead a night of Celtic music and dancing at Victoria Event Centre. Today. Doors 6pm, show 7pm. 

🍀 St. Paddy’s Day: Celebrate the holiday for the patron saint of Ireland with live music and the O’Brien Irish Dancers at Irish Times. Today. Doors 9am, show 12pm.

💚 St. Patrick’s on the Westshore: See the event roundup here.

🧥 Secondhand fashion markets today: Vigilante Flea at Kwench (2031 Store). 11am-6pm. ReLove Market at a new location on Rock Bay Ave. 11am-5pm.

👀 In Case You Missed It

Sat. news: Victoria council approves raise. St. Patrick events this weekend. Possible new orca group. Flower Count winner. [March 16]

Derelict boat removed from Oak Bay. [Photos]

Fri. news: CRD's $777M budget. City won't request AirBnB law delay for tourist season. Hospital rankings. [March 15

Alleged flashing, groping, and intoxication lead to arrest of man, 27, in Langford. [RCMP]

Whale-hunting whales may be a new orca population. [UBC]

That’s it!

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