Cherry trees like this one on  Douglas Street  near Belleville Street will be in the sights of bloom talliers across the region during the annual Victoria Flower Count. The count takes place between Feb. 25 and March 3.

Cherry trees like this one on Douglas Street near Belleville Street will be in the sights of bloom talliers across the region during the annual Victoria Flower Count. The count takes place between Feb. 25 and March 3.

Flower Count, hometown tourist event ramp up in Victoria next week

Annual Flower Count runs for a week around Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria’s blossom-provoking mild weather has for years given locals ammunition for some lighthearted gloating at prairie and eastern Canadian residents.

The annual Victoria Flower Count, which kicks off its 37th year of tallying blooms around the Capital Region on Tuesday (Feb. 25), aims not only to boost community pride, but to create awareness of the region as a shoulder season tourist destination.

“The Flower Count is not only a longstanding local tradition, it is an important differentiator for the region,” said Tourism Victoria president and CEO Paul Nursey. While tourism is a high stakes and competitive business, he said, the industry is gaining momentum in the Capital Region, in no small part to the weather. Promotions such as the Flower Count are a way to help even out the seasonal distribution of visitors to Greater Victoria, Nursey added.

More than 760 million blooms were counted last year. The City of Victoria won the Community Challenge award with the most blossoms tallied.

The Flower Count runs from Feb. 25 to March 3. For details on how to count blossoms, visit flowercount.com/guide.

Hometown tourists receive big discounts

Butchart Gardens, Butterfly Gardens and Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre are big tourist draws during the high season, but expect them to be packed with locals next week.

The annual Be a Tourist in Your Hometown promotion, on from Feb. 27 to March 2, offers admission to nearly 20 local tourist attractions and recreation centres as well as deep discounts at local businesses, all for only $12.50.

The passport also includes discounts for local attractions like Adrena LINE Ziplines (half price), the Royal B.C. Museum and IMAX Victoria (half price), whale watching with Prince of Whales ($50) and a day pass for B.C. Transit ($5 value).

Buy a passport at Thrifty Foods and regional rec centres or learn more at attractionsvictoria.com/bat.

dddescoteau@vicnews.com