Palms trees in Victoria, BC vs snowstorm in Toronto

Paul_OntFebruary 16, 2013

I travelled to Victoria, BC and they had palm trees in some gardens as well as public places. I flew back to Toronto in a snowstorm. My big question is how can there be palm trees in places like Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver while all of southern Ontario gets temperatures that can be lower than -20C?They also had some flowers in Victoria. What a shocking difference in winter climate. Victoria is more northerly than Toronto. Some say the ocean helps keep the palm trees alive in winter. Why does it not work in places like Halifax, Nova Scotia? Another snowstorm is headed for the east coast while Toronto sits in the cold and gardeners in Victoria look at green grass and the odd palm tree outside. I am green with envy.

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Two major reasons and a slew of minor ones.

1. Both the jet stream and prevailing winds in Canada blow from the west. In BC, that means warm moisture laden air blowing off the relatively warm Pacific.

2. The Cascades and Rockies act to block the worst of the Arctic outflows. The cold air gets channeled down the western slopes of the Rockies before the jet stream takes it east.

Canada's east coast does benefit from the moderating effect of the ocean but with no blocking mountain range, prevailing winds blowing from the west, and the really warm Gulf Stream current well offshore, there is only so much moderating the Atlantic can do.

Now in Western Europe, the Gulf Stream provides a BC like climate at the same latitude.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 5:20PM
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I've lived in Vancouver but now live in the southern interior. As much as the west coast can grow palms, I think they look totally out of place. Give me a beautiful Arbutus tree any day.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:21PM
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