Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I love this time of year in the city. The grey and dreary winter days are behind us and although the rain still showers down every few days (or for a few days on end) it just makes everything so lush, green, and full of life. Walking up from Burrard SkyTrain the other night I noticed the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, which reminded me of the festival.

Photo credit: vancouver_scenery on Flickr

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival began in March (running until April 24, 2009) and includes haiku installations, photo contests, bike and trolley tours, and tree-gazing walks at various parks around the city.

just a petal
the mountain vanishes
into pink air
– 2009 Best of BC Haiku winner, Jill Stanley

Today there is a ‘tree talk and walk‘ in Stanley Park at 3:00pm and there are three more events this coming Saturday, along with the final activities next week.

Photo credit: rcousine on Flickr

Photo credit: frarytd on Flickr

Brief history of cherry blossoms in Vancouver:

  • In the early 1930s the mayors of both Kobe and Yokohama presented the Park Board with 500 Japanese cherry trees for planting at the Japanese cenotaph in Stanley Park honouring Japanese Canadians who served in WWI.
  • By the 1950s, many trees on city streets, were being removed and replaced because of problems with roots and canopies, and the move away from the large, long-lived trees of earlier plantings intensified.
  • In 1958 three hundred more cherry trees were donated by the Japanese consul, Muneo Tanabe, reported in the newspaper as “an eternal memory of good friendship between our two nations.”
  • In 1961 the Park Board hired its first full time arborist to handle public inquiries and to develop a system for recording the planting, pruning and removal of trees.
  • In 1967, Yoshino Cherry trees came to Vancouver as a gift from the Japanese city of Yokohama. They beautify Cambie Street between West 41st and 49th Avenues. [source]
  • By the time the Park Board completed its first comprehensive street tree inventory in 1990, nearly 36 percent of the 89,000 trees on city streets were represented by trees of the Prunus genus—the flowering plum and cherry trees.
  • 2005 The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Society is established as a not-for-profit charitable organization, inspired by the age old Sakura festivals of Japan.
  • Check out the cherry blossom viewing map if you’d like some inspiration for your next stroll, or photo walk. The map also outlines the type of tree, in which neighbourhood they are located, and if they are currently in bloom.

    Photo credit: mjw5208 on Flickr

    Should you take any digital photos while you’re out and about on a blossom photo walk, feel free to add them to the Miss604 Flickr Group and I’ll showcase some on my site at the end of the week.

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    3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

    1. Vincent NgMonday, April 13th, 2009 — 11:37am PDT

      I love the cherry blossoms myself, and I think that when Vancouver decided to do a festival like this, it was an excellent idea. It just grows bigger and bigger every year.

    2. Vancouver EventsMonday, April 13th, 2009 — 11:46am PDT

      I’m in Alberta now and everything is so brown here. I miss Vancouver and the cherry blossoms. Spring used to be my favorite time of the year when I lived in BC. Can’t wait until next year when we are planning to move back.

    3. klparrotMonday, April 13th, 2009 — 3:31pm PDT

      I actually visited Nitobe Garden at UBC on Saturday for the Mokuyokai Society’s Ohanami (cherry blossom viewing), but although the cherry trees on my street are in full bloom, most of the ones in the garden hadn’t popped yet!

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