Spring has (almost) sprung in Edmonton!

Click to play video: 'Spring returns to Edmonton — or does it?' Spring returns to Edmonton — or does it?
Outdoor enthusiasts, golfers and gardeners are hoping the snow will just keep on melting in Edmonton. Sarah Ryan reports. – Mar 18, 2022

Birds chirping, geese honking and that crisp sound of a driver hitting a golf ball for the first time this season; they’re all signs that spring has (almost) sprung in Edmonton.

While spring doesn’t officially arrive until Sunday morning, above-zero temperatures this week have Edmontonians trading their winter boots for runners.

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Jim Pearson was the first person at the tee at the the Canada Golf Card Driving Range and Mini Golf in southwest Edmonton, which opened at 11 a.m. Friday.

“Best day of the year is when the driving range opens,” he said. “You can do simulators in the winter, but it’s just not the same as seeing the full flight of the ball.”

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Pearson has golfed for more than 50 years and couldn’t wait to get to the driving range. Last year, he hit between 450 and 500 buckets of balls.

“I’m not good at it,” he joked. “But I’m very passionate about it. It’s outside, it’s exercise, it’s fellowship with your friends. It’s walking through God’s creation. It’s just great.

“It’s plus one and the mats are clean, so what more do you need? The sun is shining!”

Buckets of golf balls prepared at the Canada Golf Card Driving Range and Mini Golf in southwest Edmonton Friday, March 18, 2022. Global News

While the mini golf course won’t be open for another few weeks, staff members at the driving range — located on Ellerslie Road at 135 Street — worked hard to get most of the snow removed from the site and prepared for opening day.

“We’ve had our snow team out here for the last four or five days,” said Jeff Ivanochko, VP of Canada Golf Card.

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“We’ve had Bobcats with six- or seven-foot-wide snow blowers. We actually created lanes in the snowbanks so we can retrieve some balls at the end of the day.

“We had a ton of snow and a fast melt this year. So the water is pooling into the parking lot — we’ve had five pumps going. But now we’re on top of it and we’re winning.”

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With 67 tee boxes and warm temperatures in the forecast, the driving range is anticipating a busy week.

“Everybody’s been cooped up. It’s been a long winter. Everybody’s excited for spring and that’s why we wanted to open our driving range to get people out to enjoy the warm weather,” Ivanochko said.

Jim Pearson (R) was ready to hit some balls the moment the Canada Golf Card Driving Range and Mini Golf in southwest Edmonton opened Friday, March 18, 2022. Global News

Francois Chevennement is the manager of Salisbury Greenhouse in Sherwood Park and said it’s too early too plant in the ground, but there are options for early spring blooms.

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“A good thing about pansies, they are beautiful colours. They can start to go outside. They handle temperatures about -7,” said Chevennement. “In about three weeks, we’re going to start bringing in all the annual flowers, so spring is on the way!”

Blooming flowers at Salisbury Greenhouse in Sherwood Park are another sign of the end of winter Mar. 18, 2022.

Chevennement recommends waiting until after the May long weekend to start your outdoor planting.

The official arrival of spring may feel a bit wintry in Edmonton on Sunday, with a potential for flurries in the forecast.

“It could stack up to a heavy and wet snow event,” Global Edmonton chief meteorologist Jesse Beyer said, adding Edmonton could be on the outer edge of the weather system.

“Areas towards the east may be dealing with a significant snowfall and again, it’ll be that heavy, wet snowfall typical at this time of year.”

But the temperatures are forecast to reach highs of 5 C Monday, 12 C Tuesday and 15 C Wednesday, according to Beyer.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton weather forecast: Friday, March 18, 2022' Edmonton weather forecast: Friday, March 18, 2022
Edmonton weather forecast: Friday, March 18, 2022

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