Each year from late April to mid-May (it depends on the year!) thousands of visitors head for Toronto’s High Park, the home to over one hundred cherry blossom trees. The first of the trees were a gift from the citizens of Tokyo to the people of Toronto in 1959; in that year the Japanese ambassador presented 2000 Somei-Yoshino Sakurathe trees. This varitety is known for its early blossoming and its fluffy white blooms. Over time yet more trees have been donated by the Japanese Consulate and High Park has become Toronto’s prime spot to view the blossoms, a long-time spring ritual in Japan known as Sakura (cherry blossom) Hanami (flower viewing).
map source – see here
This year’s peak viewing will occur between May 6th and 12th, just in time for Mother’s Day.
While the display of blossoms may not be as impressive as some in the past – thanks to the mild winter weather and a cooler than usual spring we’ve had – it will still make for a great outing. To view the blossoms while taking in the energy and joy shown by the many fellow strollers makes the walk along the pathways of High Park worth whatever effort it takes to get there.
I took the following pix in May 2015 shortly after buying a telephoto lens for my Sony A6000. I also brought along my 10-18 wide-angle lens and a 35 mm prime. To no surprise everyone there had some sort of camera – from iPhones to point & shoots to dslrs. Some fussed with tripods while others stretched out with their “selfie” sticks. Everybody was having a good time; some had even dressed up for the occasion!
Later this week I’ll bicycle over to High Park along the Goodman Trail from my Riverdale neighbourhood in east Toronto. Maybe I’ll see you there. I’ll be the guy with the camera!
Where Else To Find Cherry Blossom Trees In Ontario
- Exhibition Place
- McMaster University
- York University (near Calumet College and on Ottawa Road near McLaughlin College)
- the University of Toronto’s main (next to Robarts Library) and Scarborough campuses.
- Niagara Falls also has many near the Falls itself.
- The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington and Hamilton was also the recipient of a number of Somei-Yoshino cherry trees that were donated by the Consulate-General of Japan in Toronto as part of the Sakura Project. The trees are located in the Arboretum and the Rock Garden and were planted to celebrate the continual strengthening of friendship between Japan and Canada. Peak bloom time at Royal Botanical Gardens is normally around the last week of April or the first week of May.
(See here for the Wikipedia page from where the above information was shamelessly copied. The Wiki entry is worth reading in its entirety!)
Links To Other Info:
The High Park Nature Center has a “Cherry Blossom Watch” page. Click here. This website is also where I found the Google map which I started the post with.
A CBC Metro Morning news item from April 28 discusses the state of this year’s blossoms – not spectacular but not hopeless either! See here.
The blog Sakura Cherry Blossoms (click on title to access) looks to be the ultimate source of information on the High Park cherry blossoms. The most recent prediction for 2016 is pretty bleak. The blogger Steven Joniak writes –
Updated May 4, 2016 – The latest Sakura Watch post confirmed, I’m sadly changing my prediction to now state that there will be no peak bloom to view in High Park in 2016. There was only a single blossom on 1 tree in the park today, and a small cluster on another tree nearby – all other trees appear to be going to leaf which leaves very little hope that the remaining buds will develop into cherry blossom – see full post here