Has anyone in B.C. seen the sun?

Gloomy weather in B.C. is taking its toll on tourism

by Richard Warnica

Has anyone seen the sun?

Chuck Stoody/CP

While most of Canada has sizzled in recent months, it’s been downright gloomy in B.C. There were only seven days above 22° C in Vancouver between May and July (normally, there would have been about three weeks’ worth already). In fact, 2011 could be Vancouver’s coldest spring and summer on record, says David Phillips, a senior climatologist at Environment Canada. Making matters worse, it’s wetter than usual, too; the city has been drenched with 94 days of rain in the last four months. Victoria has also been colder and greyer than average.

Added up, it’s bad for business. Frank Bourree, a B.C. tourism industry analyst, says many restaurants have suffered because of the slowdown. Patios have been sitting empty and some proprietors have been forced to close. While the weather isn’t solely to blame, experts say it is giving potential tourists—especially Americans on the West Coast looking for a weekend getaway—second thoughts. (The plummeting U.S. dollar isn’t helping matters, either.)

B.C. relies heavily on U.S. tourism, and the industry had been hoping for a big year. While Tourism Victoria says the number of U.S. visitors to that city is up slightly from last year, the total is still down considerably from pre-recession levels. And things aren’t looking much brighter in the near future. The weather forecast for August: more of the same.




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