TORONTO: Nothing symbolizes spring like the beauty of a blooming cherry tree! Every year thousands of people flock to parks across the city to take part in the centuries-old tradition of hanami, the Japanese term for flower viewing.
Called sakura in Japan, these pretty trees bloom at the end of April to early May and delight visitors who stroll under the pink blossoms. In Toronto, most cherry tree locations are easily accessible by TTC .
2019 is the 60th anniversary of many cherry trees in High Park. In 1959, the Japanese ambassador to Canada presented 2,000 trees to the people of Toronto on behalf of the people of Tokyo. The trees were planted in appreciation of Toronto accepting relocated Japanese-Canadians following the Second World War.
High Park will be car-free during peak bloom days to address pedestrian safety.
This large, centrally located park is a jewel in Toronto’s park system. High Park combines extensive natural areas with maintained parkland, recreational facilities and popular attractions for a unique urban park experience that can be enjoyed year-round.
Recognized as one of the most significant natural sites within the City of Toronto, over one-third of the park remains in a natural state. High Park is home to many species of wildlife and contains an outstanding concentration of rare plant species
• Cherry trees are planted as a tree tunnel near the Pomeroy Street and Lyon Heights Road entrance
• 45 trees were donated by Sagamihara, Toronto’s sister city in Japan, and planted in 2015 and 2016 Birkdale Ravine is close to Thomson Memorial Park.
• Cherry trees are located in rows near the southwest corner of the park near Elderfield Crescent. 100 trees were planted in November 2002
• Cherry trees are located north of the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre. Five trees are planted in this location
• Cherry trees are located along Rathburn Road, on Centennial Park Boulevard and northeast of Centennial Park Conservatory. 463 trees have been planted in this park: November 2002, June 2005, April 2009, April 2010, April and May 2011
• 8 medium trees are located near the water fountain near the Edwards Garden courtyard. 2 mature trees are close to the bridal path entrance on the west side of the ravine
• Cherry trees are at the corner of Huron Street and Harbord Street, lining the walking path. 70 trees were planted in October 2005
• Cherry trees are throughout the York University campus. 250 trees have been planted: May 2003, June 2004, May 2005 and June 2007
Visitors near the cherry trees are reminded not to climb the trees, pull on the branches and pluck off the blooms. Stay on existing trails to protect ecologically sensitive areas and prevent damage to the trees.
Cherry blossoms last for about a week to a week and a half if the weather is nice but if it rains while they are in bloom the flower petals fall quicker and the blooming may end in just a few short days.
Brampton has some cherry blossoms at Joyce Archdekin Park on Main Street. Burlington’s Spencer Smith Park has twin rows of Japanese cherry trees donated to the city by the Nakazawa family of Itabashi in 1997. In Mississauga, there are some 59 cherry trees in Kariya Park.
File pic: Cherry blossoms in High Park – Norman Kelly/Twitter – @norm