Daffodils in bloom

Stop and count the flowers

Friendly competition promotes community and heritage

While most of the country is busy shovelling snow, the Greater Victoria area is busy boasting about all its mild climate has to offer this time of year.

Hoping to use some of that good-natured ribbing to their advantage, a number of organizations, including Tourism Victoria, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Butchart Gardens and Gardens British Columbia, have banned together to promote tourism in the region – including Sooke – while highlighting some beautiful blooms.

With more than 17 billion blooms counted in 2015, the Flower Count offers residents a chance to get outside and helps promote the region during a season that isn’t typically known to draw in large crowds of tourists.

“It just gets everybody involved… It adds to tourism, it helps the economy and it adds to business,” said Al Hasham, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce chair Al Hasham.

In its 41st year, the Flower Count officially runs from March 3 to 9, with the award for Bloomingest Community going to the municipality that counts the most blooms. It’s a title the City of Colwood has claimed for the past two years and the City is looking for a three-peat said Mayor Carol Hamilton.

“We all benefit (from) the fun events that bring community and people outside,” she said.

“It’s not just about tourism,” said Brian White, Royal Roads University School of Tourism and Hospitality director.

He said the Flower Count is also about getting residents involved and taking pride in their community.

“All the things you see around you reflect our heritage,” he said. “It’s a symbol of the life we lived here … gardens are an icon.”

For more information on how to get involved, please go online to flowercount.ca.