You can expect High Park to draw big crowds later this week. That’s because it’s been predicted that Toronto’s cherry blossoms will bloom sometime between May 2 and May 8.
2019 is a particularly special year for Toronto’s cherry blossoms, as it marks their 60th anniversary in the city. The iconic trees were originally given as a gift to the people of Toronto in 1959.
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Former Japanese ambassador Toru-Hagiwara donated 2,000 sakura trees on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo that year. It was meant as a gesture of appreciation after Toronto took in a number of relocated Japanese-Canadians following World War II, CBC reports. Since then, the cherry blossoms have become a symbol of the friendship between Canada and Japan.
For this special 60th anniversary, Toronto was given six new sakura trees to be planted in High Park. Mayor John Tory and Japanese Consul General Takako Ito planted one of the young trees together on Sunday to mark the occasion.
Thank you to the Japanese Consul General Takako Ito for this gift of 6 new Sakura Trees to be planted in High Park. These trees will serve as further evidence of Toronto’s enduring relationship with the people of Japan. pic.twitter.com/yUJTiImXHD
— John Tory (@JohnTory) April 28, 2019
Although cherry blossoms only stay open for roughly four to 10 days (depending on the weather), they are a huge Toronto attraction. Each year, they draw tens of thousands of people to High Park.
As a result of their popularity, vehicles have been banned from parking in the High Park area during this year’s cherry blossom season. Exact dates have not yet been confirmed, but the City of Toronto noted that the ban was meant to ease “vehicle and parking congestion in and around the park, which has impeded access for emergency vehicles.”
“Experiencing the blossoming of the sakura trees has become a rite of spring for many residents and visitors,” said Tory in a statement. “It’s important that the experience is safe for everyone at High Park and that we take care of these beloved trees so that they can be enjoyed again in future years and by future generations.”
High Park isn’t the only place where you can see cherry blossoms. There are 14 other locations across the city where you can find sakura trees, including Toronto Island Park, Trinity Bellwoods Park, York University, and Woodbine Park.