Spring in Toronto brings the High Park Cherry Blossoms and much more!
It is again SAKURA time in Toronto - the annual cherry blossoms viewing in High Park!
Photo provided by David Allen (www.highparkphotos.ca)
Visiting the Cherry Blossoms at High Park has become one of my favourite "rituals" of Spring in Toronto! They usually bloom some time in late April or early May. This year due to the milder weather - they will bloom a couple of weeks earlier than usual. According to the daily cherry blossom updates by the High Park Nature Centre - the best days to visit the blossoms during this long Easter weekend are Sunday-Monday (April 8-9, 2012), while the peak bloom is expected in 2-3 more days (April 10-11, 2012).
This is a closeup of a budding flower taken yesterday, April 6. (Photos provided by David Allen, local photographer and explorer of all seasons in High Park, whose works are on exhibit at the Grenadier Cafe in the park, www.highparkphotos.ca.)
Sakura Hanami ("cherry blossoms flower viewing") is an ancient Japanese tradition and a polular modern-day event in many places even outside Japan such as Washington, New York, Vancouver, Toronto in North America, as well as in China, Australia, Brazil and in Europe.
Sakura are widely celebrated in Japanese literature, poetry and art and have a spiritual meaning to the Japanese people. To me - their graceful beauty brings joy and renewed life energy and reminds me to appreciate and protect the delicate wonders of Nature we humans are given.
Planning Your Cherry Blossom Visit - please read the useful tips given by High Park Nature Centre.
Cherry Blossoms # 1 by the Grenadier Pond:
The Sakura (cherry) trees in High Park were presented to the city of Toronto in 1959 by the Japanese ambassador to Canada on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo (in appreciation of Toronto accepting re-located Japanese-Canadians following the Second World War). Most of the trees are planted on the hillside overlooking Grenadier Pond, just soutwest of the Grenadier Cafe in the middle of the park.
Cherry Blossoms # 2 by Jamie Bell Adventure Playground (aka the "wooden castle") and the High Park Zoo.
These trees were donated and planted later - in 1984. It is a smaller cherry garden, but still very beautiful and enjoyable.
High Park is easily accessible by subway (High Park station) and streetcar (506 College and 501 Queen). Parking in the park is free, but spaces are very limited during the time of the Cherry Blossoms bloom when thousands of people gather under the white crowns of the cherry trees. Remember to bring your cameras and picnic blankets and enjoy!
Check out these library books about the Japanese cherry blossoms:
- Cherry blossom time in Japan: The complete works - this book can be used at the Arts department of Toronto Reference Library along with many other beautiful works of photography.
- Sakura in the Land of the Maple Leaf: Japanese Cultural Traditions in Canada.
Library books about Toronto's nature trails:
There are many other natural areas in Toronto, including ravines, woodlands, the lakeshore - whether you are a newcomer or a long-time resident - these book guides below, written by Torontonians, can help you discover or re-discover more of Toronto's green nature.
Some online resources about High Park and other green places in Toronto:
- "A Walk in the Park" - here is a previous blog post by library staff from March 2011, it offers more wonderful ideas of what great outdoors Toronto has to share.
- City of Toronto page about High Park.
- High Park Nature Centre offers great hands-on environmental programs and family walks for everyone (also on Facebook and Twitter).
- High Park Zoo - 112-years-old popular local destination - free visit to the llamas, yaks, bisons, deer, peacocks, emu, capybara, wallaby and a few other animals.
- City of Toronto Feautured Parks - get inspired to visit Toronto Island, The Music Garden, Riverdale Farm, Bluffers Park, Guildwood park etc.
- Evergreen Brick Works - a unique urban paradise located in Toronto's Don Valley at the site of former historical brick factory. In 2010, Evergreen Brick Works was named by National Geographic as one of the world’s top 10 geotourism destinations.
High park video on Youtube:
"The ravines are to Toronto what canals are to Venice and hills are to San Francisco. They are the heart of the city’s emotional geography, and understanding Toronto requires an understanding of the ravines." - Toronto journalist Robert Fulford in his book: Accidental City: The Transformation of Toronto.
Which are you favourite green places in Toronto? How do You "celebrate" Spring?