Spring in Vancouver: Daffodils, Cherry Blossom and Spring Skiing
I’ve come to learn that Spring is a funny season in Vancouver; one which is often characterized by its non-appearance. The months of March to May have so far consisted of wet and cold weeks of autumnal misery, intertwined with the odd beautifully sunny day at the beach. Not much of a happy medium where the weather is concerned. Despite this, there are three main things that embody Spring in Vancouver for me, and the odd burst of sunshine this afternoon compelled me to write about them.
The first is the daffodil. Those of you who follow/friend me on any social network won’t have missed the fact that I’ve been talking a lot about daffodils over the past month, and this is largely due to the huge role they play in my professional life. Traditionally, daffodils are seen as the ‘first sign of spring’ due to their tendency to fight through the winter weather and bloom early in March. For the Canadian Cancer Society, the daffodil is a symbol of hope which shows those on their cancer journey that they are not alone. April is Daffodil Month, the biggest month of the year for us as an organization, and daffodils have been everywhere in Vancouver! Flags, billboards, soccer games, TV commercials, hockey games, newspaper adverts and even pinned to celebrities. The daffodil pin is our version of a poppy, and we asked all British Columbians to wear a daffodil pin throughout the month of April to show their support for people living with cancer, and especially on Daffodil Day (April 27th). This year my quest to meet this goal took me to Rogers Arena for a Vancouver Canucks game, Robson Square on the hottest morning of the year so far (alwayswear sunscreen), a busy SkyTrain station at 6:30am and an inspirational gala at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The Daffodil Campaign highlights the fantastic support programs offered by the Canadian Cancer Society, which includes emotional, practical and financial services. The money raised from the Daffodil Campaign funds these programs, as well as world class research and life-saving prevention activities. To me, Spring means daffodils, and reminds me why I do what I do in Vancouver.
That said, Daffodil are not the only flower that I associate with Spring. The other is a little pinker, but just as prevalent in Vancouver; the cherry blossom. The 2012 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival took place from April 5 to 28 and included tree talks and walks, plain-air painting and an umbrella flash mob! Spring lovers from across British Columbia entered their favourite pictures of cherry blossom into the annual BC Blossom Watch Photo Contest, and cherry scouts reported what was in bloom and where. The first Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival was held in 2005, and each year it continues to unite Vancouverites who wish to learn about, appreciate and celebrate the beautiful flower. And yes, I’ve also been known to post a fair few pictures of cherry blossom in recent weeks!
The final thing that I love about Spring is a little bit of a cop-out, as it’s also something I love about winter: the snow! Not just any snow, spring snow to be exact! Those of you who are avid skiers or boarders will already know that there can be a huge difference between winter skiing and spring skiing, particularly in a warmer climate like Vancouver, and it’s only this year during my first full season that I’ve fully appreciated it. Spring snow is, by definition, a little slushier than winter snow. As the temperatures rise, the snow starts to melt, which makes for an interesting ride down the mountain. My first spring boarding experience was in the second week of April, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my evening on the slopes. Winter is all well and good for the fresh powder, but I found the spring slush just as fun and a million times easier to board in. Once I’d gotten over the fact that I was in the middle of a ski resort in 11 degree heat, I unzipped my jacket, ditched my scarf and celebrated the extension of the season until at least mid-May. In 2011, it was possible to ski until July 1st. Fingers crossed we get somewhere near there this year!
Although it’s true that Spring is a wet and windy time to visit Vancouver (don’t let any Vancouverites persuade you otherwise that ‘it’s usually warmer than this’. Yeah, right), it’s also an opportunity to see the city at it’s best. And when the sun does come out it’s the perfect excuse to grab a coffee and a friend and hit the beach for a long walk around the seawall. So what if it’s not quite bikini weather just yet?