Forget the High Park crowds -- Cherry blossom trees will soon grace the Beach
A couple walk down a hill under a canopy of flowering Japanese Cherry trees in Toronto's High Park on Friday April 30, 1999. (CP PHOTO/Frank Gunn)
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017 3:21PM EDT
Cherry blossom-crazed sight seers will soon have another option for capturing shots of the photogenic trees in bloom.
Thanks to a donation from some Japanese benefactors, Woodbine Park will soon be getting 20 new Sakura trees to grace the boardwalk.
“What we’re trying to create is a ‘cherry blossom tunnel,’” Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon told CP24.com.
McMahon said the trees will be planted on either side of a stretch of boardwalk in the southeast corner of the park so as to create the effect, similar to that found in areas along the Potomac River in Washington D.C.
The Canadian-grown trees will be five to six feet tall and will begin to sport blossoms next year, according to city staff.
“It ought to be quite beautiful once they get mature and tall and arch over the boardwalk,” said Megan Price, a spokesperson for the Parks, Forestry and Recreation department.
According to Price, the city last planted Sakura trees in Trinity Bellwoods Park a couple of years back.
Sought-after for the dreamy background provided by the pink-white petals, the trees are swarmed by crowds in High Park each spring. The blossoms last just a couple of weeks, creating somewhat of a frenzy for shutter-bugs.
But that frenzy also leads to major traffic jams in the area, as well as some rough behavior around the trees, with some people shaking branches to get the effect of petals falling in their photographs and others placing dogs and kids up in the branches.
While the new trees will help enhance Woodbine Park, Price said the planting is also part of a strategy of spreading the much-photographed trees out around the city so as to reduce crowding.
“It’s sort of part of a process to not just have High Park as the centre of the cherry blossoms in Toronto,” Price said. “If we can bring it to other corners of the city, that will crowd each individual park a little bit less.”
She said interest in the cherry blossoms has grown in the last few years as social media has encouraged people to try and get “that perfect shot.”
“I think it (interest) has been growing. We have more people moving into the city, more people taking photos and more people putting them on to Instagram and social media,” Price said.
In terms of possibly drawing crowds of extra visitors to Woodbine park, McMahon pointed out that it is already a very busy park with “a festival almost every weekend.” While she said she’d prefer for any new visitors to use transit rather than drive to the area, she said the area expects to see more people in the summer.
McMahon said the new trees are also a way to honour Toronto’s Japanese sister city of Sagamihara.
“It’s a way of honouring our sister city and having some cultural awareness and to take the pressure off High Park,” McMahon said.
McMahon added that she has received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the plan for the new trees and her office is speaking with residents who are interested in “adopting” some of the trees to help with their care.
“We’re looking with local residents to help us with maintenance, kind of like an adopt-a-tree program,” she said.
She said a planting event for the Sakura trees could be held as soon as Friday at Woodbine Park.