Don’t wait for High Park, here is where you can see cherry blossoms right now

Toronto’s cherry blossoms are blooming earlier than usual this year. The Sakura trees outside of John P. Robarts Research Library in downtown Toronto are opening up early, and people are sharing pics of the light pink budding flowers across social media:

The flowers typically bloom toward the end of April or early May, but experts suggest that milder weather conditions will mean that peak bloom—when more than 70% of the blossoms are open—will begin around Monday, April 22, for most areas of Toronto—particularly High Park.

Flower fans are looking forward to taking part in a centuries-old tradition called hanami, the Japanese term for flower viewing.

History of Cherry Trees in Toronto

In April 1959, Toru-Hagiwara, the Japanese ambassador to Canada, presented 2000 Japanese Somei-Yoshino Sakura as a gift to Toronto for their support of Japanese-Canadian refugees after WWII.  Many of the trees were planted along High Park Trail around Grenadier Pond, which today has the most impressive grove of Sakura–cherry blossom trees in the city.

In 1984, Japanese cherry trees— donated by Yoriki and Midori Iwasaki as a special gift to the people of Toronto and “a joyful symbol of life—were planted along a pathway west of the Children’s Adventure Playground in High Park. In 2001, 34 Yoshino ‘Akebono’ and Kwanzan ‘Fugenzo’ Sakura trees were donated and planted on the east shore of Grenadier Pond near the Maple Leaf garden. Five years later, 16 additional Yoshino Sakura trees were planted near the original 1959 planting site. In 2019, new trees were planted in a special ceremony to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Sakura trees donated to High Park in 1959.

Where to see cherry blossom trees in Toronto

Cherry blossom trees are located at various throughout the city, and blooming will last between four and 10 days. If you don’t relish the idea of crowds at High Park, there are plenty of other areas you can enjoy the cherry blossoms:

Birkdale Ravine, 1100 Brimley Rd., Scarborough

Cherry trees are planted as a tree tunnel near the Pomeroy Street and Lyon Heights Road entrance; 45 trees were donated by Sagamihara, Toronto’s sister city in Japan, and planted in 2015 and 2016.

Broadacres Park, 35 Crendon Dr., Etobicoke

Cherry trees are located in rows near the southwest corner of the park near Elderfield Crescent; 100 trees were planted in Nov. 2002.

Cedar Ridge Park, 225 Confederation Dr., Scarborough

Cherry trees are located north of the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre. Five trees are planted in this location.

Cedarvale Park 443 Arlington Ave., York

There are paved paths near the trees and free parking.

Centennial Park, 151 Elmcrest Rd., Etobicoke

Cherry trees are located along Rathburn Rd., on Centennial Park Boulevard, and northeast of Centennial Park Conservatory; 463 trees have been planted in this park in November 2002, June 2005, April 2009, April 2010, and April and May 2011.

Cherry St. and Villiers St., 309 Cherry St., Toronto

Cherry trees are at the northeast corner of this intersection; 45 trees were planted in July 2006.

Edwards Gardens, 755 Lawrence Ave. E., North York

8 medium trees are located near the water fountain near the Edwards Garden courtyard; 2 mature trees are close to the bridal path entrance on the west side of the ravine.

Exhibition Place, 100 Princes Blvd., Toronto East York

Cherry trees are throughout the Exhibition Grounds; 68 trees were planted in 2002.

Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, 6 Garamond Crt., North York

Cherry trees are located on the north, south and east sides of the parking lot with more on the north side of the building. Trees were planted in September 2002, June 2004, and September 2012.

Toronto Island Park

About 30 cherry trees are located on Centre Island beside William Meany Maze. Trees were planted in 2011.

Trinity Bellwoods Park, 790 Queen ST. W., Toronto

Sakura trees are scattered throughout the park.

University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, 1265 Military Tr., Scarborough

Cherry trees are in front of the Humanities Wing; 50 trees are planted here.

Woodbine Park, 1695 Queen St. E., Toronto

Cherry trees are planted as a tree tunnel along the curved path next to the pond; 20 trees are planted here.

York University, 4700 Keele St., North York

Cherry trees are scattered throughout the campus; 250 trees have been planted in May 2003, June 2004, May 2005, and June 2007.

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