Our Chief Number Cruncher has some ideas for spending quality, COVID-safe time together in Victoria, BC, this Family Day weekend.

Family Day in BC was introduced originally in 1994 but failed to pass.  There were renewed calls to introduce Family Day in BC in 2007 and 2011.  In 2011, while running for the leadership of the BC Liberal Party, Christy Clark proposed establishing a Family Day holiday on the third Monday of February.  Once becoming Premier, Premier Clark announced in the Throne speech October 2011, that BC would observer its first Family Day on February 18, 2013.  Since then, the date in February has changed from the third Monday of the month, to the second.

This change was a boon for the tourism industry in BC (prior to COVID-19!) as it results in many Canadian provinces celebrating a long weekend the second weekend followed by our American friends celebrating President’s Day the third weekend of the month.

As I write this, we are still being extra cautious about gathering and keeping our social distance.  So, what are some interesting things to do this Family Day?

How about a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf?

This community of floating homes and shops is just lovely.  It makes me feel I have departed from the everyday.  I enjoy the architecture and engineering of these homes.  It has a truly artist feel.  It also has some lovely outdoor eating.  How about fish and chips from Barb’s at one of the picnic tables?  The last time I was there we enjoyed ice cream.  Watch for the sneaky sea lions!  It is also a treat to take the water taxi to Fisherman’s Wharf from downtown.

Or exploring Chinatown?

Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and one of the oldest in North America.  This year Family Day aligns with the Chinese New Year, February 12, the Year of the Ox.  This is another interesting community of architecture.  The Gates to Chinatown at Fisgard and Government Street (Gate of Harmonious Interest) were erected in 1981 in commemoration of Chinatown’s revitalization.  The two hand-carved stone lions were gifts from Victoria’s Twin City, Suzhou of the People’s Republic of China.  There are two-time capsules in each outer red pillar to be opened in 2081 and 2096.  There is also a plaque that commemorates 61 Chinese Canadians who fought and died for Canada in World War ll.

Chinatown is also home to Fan Tan Alley.  Fan Tan Alley is the narrowest street in the country.  It is home to many interesting shops, businesses and cafes.

You can take in a performance of the Victoria Symphony.

The mission of the Victoria Symphony is…  to enrich lives through the shared experience of extraordinary music.  This Family Day, from your computer, enjoy, A Greeting from Denmark.  The Danish String Quartet’s Nordic Suite captures the essence of Scandinavian folk music while Nielsen’s most widely performed work, Little Suite, showcases the composer’s fluency in the late-romantic style from a uniquely Scandinavian perspective.

You can visit the Royal BC Museum.

The museum will be offering a series of virtual events from 10am to 2:45pm.  This will include Behind the Scenes with Orcas, Animal Portraits for Kids, Family Recipes, A walk in the Park and Virtual IMAX Humpback Whales.

And walk or hike the many nature trails around the Capital Region.

Having moved here from central Canada just about 15 years ago, I still am in awe of the wonder that is the ocean and mountains.  When we first arrived, I was chatting with someone who had grown up here and asked if you begin to take for granted the wonder.  She thought not and now after some 15 years, I agree.  Nothing pleases me than seeing the water and the mountains that surround us.

Here are a few trails to consider this Family Day.

Mystic Vale which is nestled in the middle of the city on the UVIC Campus.  A relaxing gentle walk that can take a few hours.  There are multiple smaller trails and some stairs.  Parking is along Cedar Hill Cross Road.

Elk and Beaver Lake offer a trail that is well defined and flat.  It is a loop of about 10 km that brings you back to the parking area.

Thetis Lake trail is located in View Royal and is a 5 km route with a varied terrain of flatter areas mixed with hills.

And, of course, there is Mount Douglas Park for those looking for a more challenging journey.

Wherever and, however, you spend family day, remember to social distance and where your mask.

This is also the time of year to start gathering your paperwork together for your personal tax return.  Please reach out with your questions or upload your documents through our secure portal on our website.  We look forward to another virtual tax season!

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