For the first time since 2019, Toronto's cherry blossoms will be fence-free this spring, meaning up close, in-person viewing -- and, of course, plenty of photos -- will be an option for anyone wanting to check out the eye-catching Sakura trees.
The blossoms, which typically peak in late April or early May, will be open for viewing at the popular Sakura groves in High Park, as well at 15 other locations across the city including Trinity Bellwoods Park, Gairloch Gardens, and Center Island.
“Thanks to the progress we have made confronting COVID-19, everyone will be able to come out and enjoy the cherry blossoms when they bloom this spring," said Mayor John Tory. "When the peak bloom begins, I encourage you to rediscover the cherry blossoms in High Park and in cherry blossom locations across the city.”
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto restricted access to the cherry blossoms in an attempt to prevent crowds from gathering. In 2020, High Park was fully closed to the public during peak bloom and in 2021, the cherry groves were fenced off. Other blossom locations around the city were similarly fenced off to prevent direct access.
A Bloom Cam with 24/7 footage of the High Park blossoms was set up to allow people to watch the trees from home, which, according to the City, attracted 125,000 unique views in 2020 and remained popular in 2021. And although Toronto's cherry blossoms can be visited in person, the Bloom Cam will continue to operate this year for anyone who prefers an online experience.
Once the Sakura trees bloom, the City has no plans in place to deter possible crowds, but during peak bloom, vehicle access and parking inside High Park will be restricted, with the exception of TTC Wheel-Trans Vehicles. The High Park Nature Centre offers an online map of all cherry blossom locations in High Park.
“The sakura trees are a beautiful symbol of friendship between Japan and Canada, and one of the many things that make High Park special," said City Councillor Gord Perks, who represents Parkdale-High Park.
A full list of the the city's cherry blossom locations can be found on the City of Toronto website.