Nothing quite says Spring has sprung like the arrival of the Cherry Blossoms at High Park. Many locals (like me) have been counting down the days for these buds to finally blossom so we can appreciate their beauty that lasts for only a small period of time (the blossoms are expected to be around for another week or so – so I highly recommend taking the time to check them out before they are gone). If you want to know whether or not the blossoms are still in bloom, you can always check out the High Park online forum for more information. The blossoms are definitely a site not to be missed.
So while I have been visiting High Park for years to see these little beauties, I never actually knew much about them. That’s why I love the internet and Wikipedia! The trees that are in High Park are actually Somei-Yoshino cherry trees (however, the flowering cherries they produce are called ‘Sakura’), and they were given to Toronto by Japan in 1959. In 2001, the Japanese Embassy donated more Sakura to various public locations in Ontario (which is otherwise known as The Sakura Project), so that the general public could enjoy their beauty and it would be seen a symbol of goodwill and friendship between Canada and Japan. Don’t you feel much more knowledgable now that I have shared that tidbit of information? I know I do! Thank you Japan!
Many people may not be aware, but there is actually a small zoo located in High Park. The High Park Zoo is home to maybe 12-15 different species of animals (including peacocks, bison, yaks and capybaras) and has been in operation since 1893. In 2012, the City of Toronto decided to no longer fund the zoo, which resulted in the formation of the Friends of High Park Zoo (a not-for-profit organization determined to raise the $227,000 it takes to keep the zoo open year-round). So even if you happen to miss the Cherry Blossoms, there are plenty of adorable animals to visit (and occasionally pet and feed) too!
What I love most about High Park, is that there are certain things you know you are going to see there in the spring/summer months that make it just absolutely beautiful (and not dependent on the Cherry Blossoms). You know you are going to see half a dozen brides having their wedding photos taken (I don’t actually know the bride in the photo, but doesn’t she look lovely?), you know you are going to see some spectacular wildlife (who doesn’t love super cute ducks?), and you know you are going to see boat loads of families enjoying time together playing frisbee and having a picnic.
And if your adventure to High Park was still not complete after checking out the zoo, the brides, and the blossoms – there is always the random train ride throughout the park as well as the ice cream! Mmm..sprinkled tasty vanilla goodness. That cone didn’t last more than 3 minutes. Yum!