Thursday, April 08, 2021

Toronto Cherry Blossoms 2021

Queen's Park blossoms are in peak bloom right now (April 17)


Liberty Grande in Exhibition Place has blossoms which are starting to bloom (April 17)



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Peak bloom is just weeks away in Toronto! I just walked by a tree that had no leaves but was already blossoming, I think it might have been a magnolia tree, they always seem to bloom early. With Spring comes rain and the return of beautiful cherry blossoms in and around Toronto. Until they bloom, here are some photos from previous flowering fruit trees.

UPDATE April 14, 2021: City confirms virtual High Park Cherry Blossom Festival. The Toronto News Release follows.
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"High Park cherry blossoms go virtual again with #BloomAtHome, park remains open for local use

With the warm spring weather and bud development on the City of Toronto’s cherry blossom trees, the City is making arrangements for Torontonians to experience the bloom of the High Park cherry blossom trees from home again this year. In keeping with the provincial Stay-at-Home order, currently in effect across Toronto and to protect our healthcare system, the City is working to prevent crowding and gathering in High Park by offering a virtual view of the blooms while maintaining local pedestrian and cyclist access to the park for essential fresh air and exercise. To ensure people have ample space to practise physical distancing, the park will be closed to vehicle traffic.

In a typical year, tens of thousands of people visit High Park to view the blossoming Sakura (cherry blossom) trees. The blossoms typically last between four to 10 days, depending on weather. The peak bloom period usually occurs from late April to early May. Following the warm weather this spring, blossoms are expected to bloom in mid- to late April.

Given the current wave of COVID-19 in Toronto, amplified by variants of concern, access to areas of High Park with cherry blossom trees will not be permitted during their pre- and peak-bloom period because maintaining proper physical distancing in these areas will not be possible. There are three areas in High Park which feature cherry blossom trees – Cherry Hill, near the sports fields and at the Jamie Bell Playground. The public can expect these areas of the park to be enclosed with fencing to prevent in-person viewing of the trees and all park gates and entrances to be closed to vehicle traffic. Local visitors are encouraged to walk or bike to the park. The closure dates are weather-dependent and will be announced when the bloom period is determined.

To encourage residents to stay home and stay safe, the City will provide a 24-hour 4K ‘BloomCam’ of the blossoming trees in High Park at www.toronto.ca/cherryblossoms allowing residents to experience the #BloomAtHome. Rogers and the Toronto Public Library Bookmobile will again power the internet connectivity required to bring the virtual experience into viewers’ homes.

City enforcement officials and the Toronto Police Service will be onsite to prevent vehicle access to the park and ensure people stay away from the fenced off areas of the park. People are required to maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from people they do not reside with. Masks are encouraged outdoors in situations where physical distancing is difficult and are mandatory while using washroom facilities and while waiting in line.

City enforcement officials and Toronto Police Services may patrol other smaller sites of cherry blossoms in Toronto. There are more than 1,500 parks in Toronto, and in order to avoid crowding, residents are encouraged to visit their local parks rather than travelling to destination parks such as High Park. People who choose to visit their local parks for exercise should only access the park with members of the same household. If a park or amenity, such as a playground, is crowded, people should visit another park or return another time.

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 having accepted many relocated Japanese-Canadians following the Second World War. Many of those trees were planted in High Park on the hillside overlooking Grenadier Pond."
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University Avenue blossoms, also at top

Late April and early May is the usual time for peak blossoms and with the recent Ontario Lockdown I am sure that the High Park Blossom Festival will be virtual once again this year. Sakura Blossom Watch which tracks the status of the cherry trees says that the buds are developing ahead of schedule - they anticipate that peak bloom will be the last week of April 2021 (25th to 30th).

Blossoms at Ryerson University

In addition to High Park you can find the blossoms all around Toronto including the Exhibition Place or the CNE, University of Toronto, in the centre median of University Avenue, Old City Hall, Centennial Park, Queen's Park, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Osgoode Hall and even on the Toronto Islands. Around the GTA you can find a nice strand of cherry trees in Brampton's Joyce Archdekin Park (Main Street South) and Burlington's Spencer Smith Park (along the waterfront). If you like to travel you can see orchards with row upon row of flowering trees in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area.

I will update this post when the blossoms of 2021 are ready for their time to shine.

High Park and Trinity Bellwoods Park Cherry Trees are fenced off - no go zone (April 17)
Osgoode Hall, Old City Hall and University Ave blossoms haven't bloomed yet, by the looks of them they might have skipped the blossom stage? (April 17)

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