Toronto's High Park seems ill-equipped to handle this year's cherry blossom mania
Cherry blossom mania has returned to High Park in Toronto as the city reaches peak bloom for 2022, but parkgoers are noting that even though the bloom and accompanying boom are back, the public amenities needed to support them are woefully inadequate.
You can probably stop checking for the latest updates from Sakura Watch and just go to High Park already, but if you plan to visit the cherry blossoms this year, there are a few things you'll need to know.
Most importantly, you'll need to bring water and map out nearby washrooms, two departments where the city will has been accused of being lacking this year
Toronto’s biggest springtime attraction. Keep voting those encumants back into power. pic.twitter.com/qrAb5haodt— Shawn Micallef (@shawnmicallef) May 4, 2022
The city's pandemic closure of public washrooms has been a problem for two years now, already well-known to people experiencing homelessness and others with medical issues such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Luckily, budding bushes provide increasing coverage for those so inclined.— Paul Danyluk (@paultrywords) May 4, 2022
And now we can add Millennial and GenZ crowds trying to get their IG selfies to that list. Even as High Park's washrooms and other public facilities begin to reopen after pandemic closures, complaints continue to roll in.
Toronto remains hostile to its residents - a few old people walked up to the door and were disappointed. They should have stayed home. pic.twitter.com/IDjbNzKFO6— Shawn Micallef (@shawnmicallef) April 30, 2022
A City representative tells blogTO that "the High Park washroom buildings at Bloor Street, Parkside Drive and by the sports fields are open. There are also 30 portable toilets in the park around the Sakura groves. The two small hillside washrooms are closed at this time."
It feels like they're mocking us at this point. Its effing MAY!!— is Pepsi ok? (@djwesallen) May 4, 2022
But let's say you made a pit stop on the way to High Park, or pride yourself on excellent bladder and bowel control, and don't mind a long porta-potty line. There are still going to be some hurdles, as even city water fountains appear to be on the fritz.
Gave it a shot - nope pic.twitter.com/mc7GJ6w9a5— Shawn Micallef (@shawnmicallef) May 4, 2022
That hasn't stopped crowds from flocking to High Park en masse, and with a favourable weather forecast for the weekend, it could get quite busy with inadequate access for the masses to (legally or without buying something) use a washroom.
Parks staff have begun opening seasonal washrooms and drinking fountains. During the opening routine, staff check for winter damage, inspect pipes and fixtures, make repairs and flush the pipes. The entire process takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks and is weather dependent. pic.twitter.com/zU4qSHoAxd
— City of Toronto PFR (@TorontoPFR) May 5, 2022
This process is expected to take several weeks, though, so other park washrooms may remain closed well into the summer.
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