Our Favourite Spots to See Cherry Blossoms in Victoria

Spring has arrived in Victoria when you can see cherry blossoms and plum blossoms and magnolia trees blooming throughout the city! It’s a glorious time to be here enjoying the bright colours and delightful scents that fill the air.

Victoria is the Garden City and two things you can count on are flowers and residents bragging about it to whomever will listen (“oh look, the daffodils are blooming in February” said nearly every Victorian to a relative elsewhere in Canada). 

We also like to brag about our weather.

But enough about how beautiful it is, you want to know the best spots to see cherry blossoms. 

Early blooming cherry blossoms at BC Government House in Victoria BC
Early blooming cherry blossoms at BC Government House in Victoria BC
Early blooming cherry blossoms at BC Government House in Victoria BC
Early blooming cherry blossoms at BC Government House in Victoria BC
Early blooming cherry blossoms at BC Government House in Victoria BC
Early blooming cherry blossoms at BC Government House in Victoria BC
Early blooming cherry blossoms at BC Government House in Victoria BC
Early blooming cherry blossoms at BC Government House in Victoria BC

Truth is, many flowering trees that people think are cherry blossom trees are in fact plum trees. And not too many people can tell the difference. Cherry blossoms have a small split at the end of each petal that the plum blossom does not. The leaves on a cherry tree are green and a plum tree is more purple. The shape of the bud is more round on a plum and more oval on a cherry. The flowers on both are round with the cherry taking on an umbrella appearance. And finally the bark on a cherry tree has distinctive horizontal lines that a plum tree does not. 

You will only see cherry blossoms for a relatively short period of time and nobody knows for sure exactly when that will be. Blooms have been reported as early as January in a small micro climate area of James Bay, but that is not what we typically expect. Factors that determine when a tree will bloom include:

  • Location of the tree. Trees in sunny locations may bloom several days earlier than trees in shadowy places.
  • Micro climate surrounding the tree. Trees surrounded by buildings may be protected from wind and benefit from the heat given off of the buildings.
  • Tree species – different varieties have different bloom times. Early bloomers in Victoria bloom February-March while later bloomers show up in April-May.
  • The weather in the months and weeks preceding the blossom season. If the weather has been mild this generally translates into blossoms that open early and colder weather would result in later opening

For the most part, downtown Victoria and the bordering neighbourhood of James Bay are the first to start blooming, while the Westshore is usually a couple of weeks behind. A mature tree explodes with anywhere from 250,000 to 750,000 blossoms and early to mid February is when the show begins, usually with the trees lining View Street. 

Favourite Spots to See Cherry Blossoms (and Plum Blossoms!)

  1. View Street
  2. Grounds of Helmcken House and Thunderbird Park (beside the Royal BC Museum)
  3. Menzies Street on the grounds of the Parliament Buildings.
  4. Along Belleville near the Inner Harbour. 
  5. Clarence Street between Simcoe and Niagara (you have got to check out the teacup tree here)
  6. Meares Street
  7. Montreal Street
  8. Blanshard Street from Fort to Humboldt 
  9. Beacon Hill Park
  10. Croft Street
  11. South Turner Street
  12. Richmond Avenue towards Gonzales, then also down Gonzales
  13. Butchart Gardens (of course!)
  14. Ross Bay Cemetery
  15. Wildwood Avenue
  16. Moss Street (come on a Saturday and take in the Moss Street Market while you're here)
  17. Trutch Street
  18. Harbinger Street
  19. Hatley Castle and Gardens
  20. Government House on Rockland Avenue
  21. Basically, the entire James Bay, Fairfield and Rockland neighbourhoods
  22. Veteran's Memorial Parkway in Langford

This handy map courtesy of the City of Victoria shows the locations of all their trees plus there are many, many more spots to see cherry blossoms in the Greater Victoria region. If you’re visiting between February and early May, there’s a good chance you will experience our iconic spring glory and our favourite way to see them? A horse-drawn carriage ride of course! And if you love cherry blossoms like I do, why not paint your own with this incredible paint by number kit. No longer the tacky things they once were - these kits are like a paint night in your own home!

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