It may have snowed in the higher elevations this week, but it feels like spring has at last arrived in Peachland.
While Okanagan winters are much shorter and milder than nearly everywhere else in the country, Canadian winters are still longer and colder than most people on the planet ever experience. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that after months of short days and cold weather we’re ready for a change.
I grew up in Saskatchewan where the high this weekend will be -9, which is actually not bad; I remember March going out with -20 temperatures and blizzard conditions more than once so by prairie standards, things could be a lot worse.
The first winter I was in Peachland I remember walking past the Gasthaus and being stunned that at the end of February there were buds on the bushes already. I’d never seen anything come to life until months later so it still came as a huge surprise to me, even though I was aware that the climate in BC was much milder.
Perhaps the part of winter people most difficult isn’t the colder temperatures but the lack of daylight time. Going to work and coming home in the dark makes most people feel tired and can interfere with the need to be active and go places.
The extra minutes of sunshine we get each day really does make an enormous difference to a person’s mood and activity levels.
In the last week I’ve seen plants beginning to grow and bugs flying around – both signs of life good indicators that a new season has arrived.
Pretty soon the snowbirds will begin their return followed by the RVs and other traffic when another tourism season will begin in the Okanagan. Hopefully we can enjoy another smoke-free summer this year, and as most forest fires are human-caused, this is something we can largely prevent if we’re careful.
However, it is difficult to predict if the coronavirus will impact tourism in the region this summer. So many local businesses depend on a strong tourism season to sustain them through the winter months when many locals disappear down south.
A good tourism season isn’t a guarantee and at this time of year, most small businesses in the region are still in famine mode, which is something to keep in mind when you’re making consumer decisions at this time of year.