Cherry Blossom Festival
Once more than five flowers on the special Somei Yoshino trees have bloomed, the Tokyo Meteorological Agency can declare the official start of cherry blossom season. Visitors crowd into Japan to experience all of the beauty and ceremony around this blossoming of the sakura.
To mark sakura season last year, Legoland Japan hosted a Guinness World Record-settting LEGO cherry blossom tree, built from more than 800,000 bricks and measuring 14 ft 4 in tall, 17 ft 9 in long and 16 ft 2 in wide.
The abundant cherry blossom season we enjoy in Vancouver was sparked by generous gifts from Japan. In the 1930’s, the mayors of Yokohama and Kobe gave the Vancouver Parks Board 500 cherry blossom trees to honour Japanese Canadians who served in World War II. They were to be planted at the Japanese cenotaph in Stanley Park. In 1958, Muneo Tanabe, the Japanese consul, donated 300 trees to Vancouver to celebrate the friendship between our two countries.
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival – from April 4th to 28th in 2019 – is our annual celebration of the sakura. The Honourable Dr. David C. Lam was a key benefactor behind the festival and a grove has been planted at VanDusen Botanical Garden to honour him.
As part of the Festival, this Sunday, April 14th, the Big Picnic is scheduled between 12 and 3 pm at Queen Elizabeth Park. Bring your basket – or money for food trucks – dress blossom-festive, and enjoy the free entertainment.
This Saturday and Sunday, Sakura Days Japan Fair takes place at Van Dusen Gardens. There will be artists celebrating the blossoms and Japanese culture with dance, musical performances, food, tea ceremonies, visual art, origami and calligraphy.
Here’s a look from a couple of years back:
While you’re there, take a walk around Van Dusen in its sakura spring glory.
Written by Elizabeth Newton
Header Photo: Tomoko Uji