high park cherry blossoms

This is the 60th year cherry blossoms will be blooming in High Park

For the last 60 years crowds of locals and tourists alike have gathered to admire and pose in front of the sakura cherry blossom trees in High Park.

The peak bloom of the famous blossoms —which is just weeks away— is an essential part of spring in Toronto. But do you know the history of the iconic trees?

These bright pink flowers are more than just a highly Instagrammable backdrop; they're a symbol of friendship between Japan and Canada.

In 1959 the former Japanese Ambassador to Canada, Toru-Hagiwara, presented 2,000 cherry blossom trees to the people of Toronto on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo.

According to Sakura in High Park, the experts on all things High Park cherry blossoms, this generous gift was meant as a thank you to Canada for supporting Japanese-Canadian refugees following the Second World War.

A large number of the cherry blossom trees were originally planted along the High Park Trail and the Grenadier Pond, where one of the most impressive groves still stands today.

In the 60 years since, sakura trees have been donated to other areas and parks across the city "in the spirit of continued friendship between Toronto and the people of Japan," says Sakura in High Park.

Though cars won’t be allowed in High Park during peek bloom this year, hordes of people will still be flocking to snag the perfect snap.

So before you push a fellow Instagrammer out of the way in a flower-induced craze, maybe take a second to reflect on the symbol of friendship and peace that these Toronto landmarks stand for.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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