Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sakura Hanami

I feel like I went on a mini vacation! On Friday my DD picked me up and took me over to her house. We stopped for Thai food on the way. I spent the night at her place so that we could get an early start for our visit to High Park to view the cherry blossoms.
Until last week I didn't even know we had Japanese cherry blossoms in Toronto! I thought our climate would be too cold, but by the showing of this year's blossoms, I'd say it is just perfect!

The trees originally came from Japan. In 1959, the Japanese ambassador to Canada presented our city with 2000 Japanese Somei-Yoshino Sakura, on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo. This was to show Japan's gratefulness to Canada for re-locating Japanese Canadians following WWII. The trees were planted on a hill on the east shore of Grenadier Pond.

More Sakura trees were presented to Toronto, over the past years, as part of the Sakura Project. Cherry trees are considered 'a joyful symbol of life'. Many were planted in High Park, but others were planted on the grounds of the University of Toronto campus - both downtown and out in Scarborough, where we live and where my DD did her studies. Next year we will go and see them.

When we got to the park, we had trouble finding a parking spot. We drove in a long snake of cars along the many roads through the park. I took the above photo from the car just in case I wouldn't get a chance to get any closer.
But at one large parking lot we managed to find a spot for our car that another family was just vacating. I have a special disability permit, so we were able to park there. There were a lot of people viewing the blossoms yesterday. Many were from Japan. Everyone had an expensive Japanese camera. I think there must have been millions of dollars of photography equipment in the park yesterday! Many families had brought picnics to eat while sitting on the grass under the blossoms. The ground was covered in pale pink petals and as a breeze blew through the park, petals fluttered through the air. It looked as if it was snowing cherry blossoms.
The sky was cloudy, but the temperature was warm. We walked a long way. My DD pushed me in my wheelchair for part of it, but I walked for a lot of it. It seemed as if my energy was renewed by the Sakura. They bloom for only a short time, perhaps a week or so, in early spring. Kind of like a reawakening of life. And that is how I felt as I walked around, taking photos, watching the other visitors and enjoying the natural setting of the park. In some springs, after a long cold winter, the blossoms are few, but this winter was mild, so the blossoms were abundant!

We saw Mallard Ducks and Canada Geese in the pond. A pair of Wood Ducks were swimming along the shore. I think that is the first time I have ever seen a pair of those. Birds sang from the tree tops - robins, cardinals and chickadees. An, unidentified pair of birds (until now, anyway. I am going to look them up in my bird book) were mating high above us. Their unusual chirps and screeches caught our attention. Tulips and daffodills were blooming everywhere. As were the lovely blue Scilla Siberica all over the lawns.

We decided to have some lunch at the outdoor cafe. It was lovely to sit outside, under the Sakura and enjoy a spring day. Both DD's and my energy was renewed by our visit to High Park. Thank you, Japan, for your wonderful gift of pink blossoms!


11 comments:

Cybele's patch said...

The trees are beautiful. If you see this you can't imagine that it is just a 6 weeks since we saw snow. It looks as if nature is really making up for the cold winter we had. Here it is the same. Blooming trees everywhere better than we have had for years.

Rinie said...

What a beautifull pictures, Hetty.
Have not been in High Park for a long time.
Thanks for sharing.
Ranke

Cara said...

OH how lucky you are! There are only a few cherry blossoms in the city here. They're gorgeous!

Kaye said...

The Cherry Blossoms are beautiful. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Barb said...

wow...those are so beautiful....I am sure it was a sight to behold in person.

My son is in Japan and was there during Cherry Blossom Festival...

Exuberant Color said...

That had to be an amazing sight with all of those blossoms.

Pat said...

Breathtaking...I"m so glad you were able to enjoy that outing with your daughter!!!

nicolette said...

Thanks for sharing the amazing pictures!
The energy is bursting of your post! So good to hear you were able to walk and enjoy the blossoms in High Park!

LizzieJane said...

I just love cherry blossoms. What wonderful pic's Hetty. I am so happy that you had a wonderful time.
x

Simone de Klerk said...

I am totally impressed by the beauty of these trees! I can imagine that you had the feeling to be on a mini vacation! And then to hear those birds and see other Spring flowers too. I can almost smell the sweetness of the blossoms and feel a nice breeze. Thank you so much for sharing this, Hetty!

Gattina said...

They look exactly like the one I used for Skywatch. Most of the once we have in Waterloo are pink ! Nearly all side sstreets have Japonese cherry trees with pink blossoms. In some areas they put lights in them and that looks beautiful when it is dark !