Cherry blossoms in High Park are synonymous with spring, but this year you’ll have to enjoy the blooms from a distance. High Park will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists, with fences surrounding three of the largest clusters of cherry (sakura) trees to prevent gathering and overcrowding.
According to the Sakura Watch website, the blossoms are set to explode in all their flowery glory next week.
The city hopes the fences will dissuade people from congregating beneath the trees while still allowing residents to view the blossoms. Last year, the town closed High Park to traffic but installed cameras allowing residents to see the blooms up close, drawing more than 200,000 viewers.
“We are encouraging people not to flock to the park to see the cherry blossoms,” said Mayor John Tory.
Toronto Police will be present during the bloom season to prevent vehicles from entering the park and dissuade gatherings.
The Bloomcam is still operational and will likely be the only way you’ll see a close view of the blossoms this spring. There are other spots throughout the city where cherry blossoms can be seen, including Edwards Garden, Robarts Library, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto Island Park and the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.
High Park is currently open to pedestrian and cycling traffic, but automobiles are not permitted to enter the park at this time.
Floral fans can also take a virtual tour of Cherry Blossom Lane via the city’s new YouTube videos.
The sakura trees of High Park were a gift to the city presented by the Japanese ambassador to Canada in 1959 on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo to commemorate Toronto’s support of Japanese-Canadian refugees following the Second World War.
While Toronto residents may not be able to gather around the cherry trees in High Park this year, they can still walk through the area, see the blooms from a distance or spend some time learning about the history of cherry trees in Toronto virtually.