News Release
May 8, 2018

Mayor John Tory, the Consul General of Japan, Takako Ito, Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32 Beaches-East York), Chair of the City’s Parks and Environment Committee, and Councillor Sarah Doucette (Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park) were joined by City officials from Parks, Forestry and Recreation this morning to celebrate the beauty of the Sakura trees in High Park and provide information about the trees.

“Taking in the beauty of the blossoming Sakura trees has become a well-loved tradition in Toronto,” said Mayor Tory. “It’s important that we continue to care for these living gifts so that they can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Cherry blossom viewing is a rite of spring in many cities, where Sakura festivals are held to celebrate the beauty of the trees. Every year, thousands of Torontonians visit High Park to view the blossoms. Flowers usually last between four and 10 days, depending on weather conditions.

High Park is easily accessible by TTC. Visitors are encouraged to take transit, cycle or walk. In previous years, police have had to close vehicle access to the park because of traffic. Parking will be extremely limited and there will be delays for motorists as well as occasional closures. Transit route information is available at http://www.ttc.ca/.

Taking care of the Sakura trees so that Torontonians and visitors can continue to enjoy them in years to come is a collective responsibility. It’s important that visitors to the park do not climb on the trees or injure the trees by removing blossoms or branches.

“Sakura in Toronto symbolize the invaluable friendship between our two countries,” said Consul General Ito. “This fact is especially significant this year when we are celebrating the 90th anniversary of Japan-Canada diplomatic relations and the 30th anniversary of redress for Japanese-Canadians.”

Many of the Sakura trees in High Park are roughly 60 years old. 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 accepting relocated Japanese-Canadians following the Second World War. Many of these trees were planted on the hillside overlooking Grenadier Pond. A grove of cherry trees donated by Yoriki and Midori Iwasaki was planted in 1984 in High Park, In 2001 and 2006, a total of 50 additional cherry trees were planted as part of the Sakura Project, a symbol of friendship between Japan and Canada.

More information, including other locations in Toronto where residents can view the blossoms, is available at https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/high-park-cherry-blossoms.  
 
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Jane Arbour
Strategic Communications
416-338-0944, 437-346-2815 (cell)