The sun was shining down on Victoria on Monday. But even in March, spring hasn’t really sprung yet for the island.”Oh it’s been I’d say seven or eight degrees colder than usual,” said Victoria resident Elaine Pace, while walking near Ogden Point.

“Right now it’s supposed to be three degrees out, ordinarily I’d say it’d be more like eight or 10.”

Most of the island is still hovering around freezing overnight, and the unseasonably cool conditions follow what meteorologists call a freakishly frigid February.

“It was record-breaking cold, second coldest February since 1940 at the airport,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan.

“And so far, March is very similar. We haven’t really shaken the winter.”

But the wintry weather didn’t stop a longstanding Victoria tradition. The 44th annual flower kicked off today amidst the frosty freeze.

“We have used this for many many years to make the rest of Canadians very jealous,” said Greater Victoria’s Chamber of Commerce CEO Catherine Holt.

“I think it has raised the profile of the contrast between our climate and the climate in other parts of this godforsaken continent in February.”

And comparing daily temperature highs in cities across Canada, Victoria is in relatively good standing.

The province’s capital hit nearly 10 degrees warmer than many cities across the country.

“It’s so pleasant because I’m from Edmonton, and as you know, it’s minus 30 there. So, it’s just a joy to be here,” said visitor Peter Juliebo.

“It’s been cold, like right to the bone kind of chilly. But I’m originally from Winnipeg, so to me, this is like Hawaii!” laughed Victoria transplant Denise Landygo.

And while this month of March opened with a continued cold, meteorologists point out the sun is getting stronger, and staying up longer.

“We’re going to see a shift in the weather, there’s no doubt about that because it’s March and that’s when it happens,” said Castellan.

“But are we going to stay below normal for a few more weeks? Probably.”

So, don’t pack those puffy jackets away just yet.

“Is it cold? Ya, it’s cold. But look at the waves, look at the blossoms!” said Landygo.

Spring is somewhere out there, just waiting for us around the corner.

Kori Sidaway