Cherry blossoms are much loved around the world. In Canada, it’s been thrilling to watch the blooms occur across the country. Here in Toronto, the season of white and pink blossoms (aka Sakura) typically peak around Mother’s Day much to the delight of many. Although, it looks like it might peak earlier this year! So, what’s the significance and where are the best places to see cherry blossoms in Canada?

What is the significance of Cherry Blossoms?

Symbolism: Sakura holds deep cultural and symbolic significance in Japanese culture. It symbolizes the fleeting nature of life, beauty, and the concept of “mono no aware”, which is an appreciation of the impermanence of things.

Timing: Sakura season typically occurs in spring, usually between late March and early May, depending on the region and climate conditions. The exact timing varies from year to year and is closely monitored through local forecasts. Toronto’s High Park, a popular cherry blossom viewing area, even offers daily updates as the season inches closer. They will also limit to foot traffic only during peak season.

Hanami: Hanami, which literally means “flower viewing,” is the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of cherry blossoms. It involves picnicking, drinking, and socializing under the blooming trees. Hanami gatherings are more casual with friends or family gaining in popularity here as the season warms up. I love sitting under the trees just as the petals begin to softly fall. (pssst…check out Chatime’s Sakura Season offerings!)

Sakura - cherry blossom - hanami - chatime - bakecode - canada

Chatime Canada’s seasonal drinks this year include a Sakura White Peach Green tea with real peach fruit bits and a Sakura Lychee Juice with real lychee bits! Also be sure to bring along some sweet or savoury pastry items from Bake Code. The NEW Dragon Egg bun has quickly become a favourite! (Dragonfruit-infused Oubao, fresh taro paste, salted egg, crowned with a pineapple bun topping!) A must try for your picnics!

Events and Festivals: Many cities in Japan organize Sakura festivals or events during the peak blooming period. These festivals often include food stalls, performances, parades, and illuminated night viewings of the cherry blossoms. Vancouver has a Cherry Blossom Festival during the season. Check out www.vcbf.ca for dates

Cultural Significance: Sakura celebrations are deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and history. They have been celebrated for centuries and are featured in literature, art, and poetry as symbols of renewal and the transient nature of life.

cherry blossoms - toronto - Sonya

Did you know?

In 1957, 2,000 beautiful cherry trees were generously gifted from Japan. This was a gift of appreciation  for accepting and welcoming Japanese citizens after WWII. Many were planted in High Park. An additional 3,000 trees were planted in 60 places by the Ontario Sakura Project from 2000 to 2012.

There are approximately 40,000 cherry trees in Vancouver. The city also has an annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

Some of the best places to see Cherry Blossoms in Canada:

  • Queen Elizabeth Park ,Vancouver BC
  • Van Dusen Botanical Park, Vancouver, BC
  • Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC
  • Nitobe Memorial Garden, Vancouver, BC
  • Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC
  • James Bay, Victoria, BC
  • River Valley, Edmonton, AB
  • High Park, Toronto, Ontario
  • Trinity Bellwood Park (Queen Street entrance), Toronto, Ontario
  • U of T Robarts Library, Toronto, Ontario
  • Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario
  • Centre Island, Toronto, Ontario
  • Botanical Gardens (entrance), Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  • Confederation Park (east side), Ottawa, Ontario
  • Jacques Cartier Park, Gatineau, Québec
  • Westmount Park, Montréal, Québec

If you have any other favourites, please let me know and I can add it to this list!

cherry blossoms - toronto - sakura

Remember to leave the branches and trees alone. As tempting as it is, please don’t pull on branches, climb on the trees or take any home with you. We want to enjoy them for many years to come.

And if you’re on Instagram, follow @cherryblossommadness a personal account with a view from the person’s window in Vancouver. It’s funny to see how people react during the season! All in good fun of course. Hey, I’m sure I would be documented doing silly things too if I was living there, lol!