March 5th to March 11th, 2015
The Flower Count is an annual light-hearted promotion sponsored and organized by The Butchart Gardens and Tourism Victoria. The goal is to bolster community pride and increase awareness of Greater Victoria as an attractive shoulder-season tourism destination. It brings national and international attention to the fact that Victoria (City of Gardens) has the mildest climate in Canada. While the rest of Canada and much of the US is still in the cold clutches of winter weather, Victoria often enjoys spring temperatures of 10-15° Celsius (up to 60° Fahrenheit).
Each municipality across Greater Victoria is encouraged to take up the challenge to be the “Bloomingest Community” of the Greater Victoria area! People reporting flower counts will have their number attributed to their community. Whether they live on the Saanich Peninsula or in Sooke, every flower counts, for their own community and for the overall total.
How Did It Start?
In the late 1960’s, members of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce started a promotion called “Victorian Days”. In late February, dressed in Victorian era costumes, they would visit cities such as Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg, handing out daffodils to the general public, radio stations and news rooms. In 1976, the event expanded to involve Victoria residents and create a fun promotional story through the counting of February’s flowers. The Victoria Flower Count was born.
FLOWER COUNT 2014 RESULTS
Victoria, BC – The 38th annual Flower Count took place during some unusual North American wide weather conditions. While almost all Canada was locked in bone marrow chilling temperatures, regions of Greater Victoria experienced some snow. Unlike most of flower-less Canada, some of our flowers lay under a blanket of snow. Residents of Greater Victoria still rallied and counted 1,392,393,203 flowers beating last year’s count of roughly three quarters of a billion.
The winner of the Bloomingest Community goes to the City of Colwood which, due to one school’s colossal effort, came in with a total of more than one billion blooms. Reached by email, Mayor Carol Hamilton said “The annual flower count is fantastic way to highlight the beautiful setting we live in. Colwood residents love their gardens, and we’re fortunate to be home to many beautiful parks, including Hatley Gardens,” said Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton. “Thanks to everyone who boasted about their blossoms this year – especially our young students at École John Stubbs for taking pride in their community. What a wonderful way to welcome Spring! The City of Victoria was second and the District of Saanich was third.
2014 chief organizer Graham Bell of The Butchart Gardens stated “While we talk about this being a light-hearted promotion, the message to much of Canada and the United States is clear: We are Canada’s tropics in the winter. Afternoon temperatures today in Northern B.C. and the rest of Canada are below zero and our temperature is predicted to be only one degree lower than New Orleans.” Bell went on to say “We count flowers at this time of year because we can. We can also garden, golf, kayak, hike, cycle, fish, bird watch and even scuba dive.”
Paul Nursey, Tourism Victoria’s president and CEO commented “Lukas Laurie’s Grade 5 French Immersion class at John Stubbs Elementary school in Colwood has won the school competition and put his city at the top of the count. His class counted at Royal Roads University and Mr. Laurie’s enthusiastic students used spread sheets, plus enlisted family and friends in the count. To them I say ‘Bravo!’”
In revealing the final count today, a group of people representing some of the many outdoor activities now happening in Victoria: bird watching, diving, fishing, gardening, hiking, golfing and kayaking held up the numbers to display the total.
The 2014 flower count drew web site visitors from all provinces and territories in Canada except Nunavut. A total of twenty countries, including twenty-seven U.S. states checked out the web site. The social media channels with the greatest activity were Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.