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.
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.
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 â€œan eternal memory of good friendship between our two nations.â€
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 genusâ€”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.
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.