Thursday 20 February 2014

Winter is a Relative Term

On the south-west coast of British Columbia, we are fortunate to escape the worst of Canadian winters. At this time of year, when most of the country is in the grips of the cold snow and deep freeze that is a typical Canadian February, Vancouver Island and the BC south coast are usually gearing towards spring. It is hard not to call friends and family back east to check on their winter progress as an opportunity to remind them of the mild weather out here!

That is not to say that cold snaps don't happen, or that we don't get some snow, as we do get the occasional snow fall. However, those are the exception and there can be years that no snow falls on the populated areas of Vancouver Island (our mountains on the other hand can get exceptional snow fall thanks to winter storms). A cold snap usually lasts no more than a few days before temperatures once again warm up, and snow doesn't generally last long on the ground.

There are variations in the island's climate from north to south. The north generally gets more rain, and has milder temperatures. The central eastern coast side also gets a fair bit of rain, but experiences warmer summer temperatures. The south coast of the island, around Victoria, tends to be the mildest and receives less rain than the rest of the island. The west coast, being more open to the Pacific Ocean, receives more storm action but also has milder temperatures.

Campbell River enjoys temperatures on average between -2 and +23 degrees Celsius. Summer is generally mild and dry. Winter does bring rain to the island, with November usually seeing the most precipitation in a given year. The rain storms of winter provide some amazing 'storm watching' opportunities, not only on the more rugged and open west coast of the island but also here on the east side of the island. Beach combing after a winter storm is a great outdoor activity.
piled up driftwood after a January storm in Campbell River
This mild island weather means access to the outdoors is year round on the entire island. This includes fishing in both rivers and the ocean, as well as year round hiking and other outdoor pursuits such as cycling. Add in a local ski hill and you have the best of both worlds in one place. Fly fishing in the river one day, skiing on the hill the next, and a good walk whenever the mood strikes - all are available here in the middle of winter.

And of course, starting in February the garden colours start to show, providing a welcome reminder that spring is on its way!
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

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