High Park Cherry Blossoms 2017!

This past weekend, I went on my annual pilgrimage to see the flowering cherry trees in High Park.

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According to the High Park Nature Centre website, “the Japanese ambassador to Canada, Toru-Hagiwara, presented 2000 Japanese Somei-Yoshino Sakura trees to the citizens of Toronto on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo” in 1959.

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“The trees were planted in appreciation of Toronto accepting re-located Japanese-Canadians following the Second World War. Many of these trees were planted on the hillside overlooking Grenadier Pond (southwest of the Grenadier Café) and around the east shore of the pond.

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In 1984, a grove of Japanese cherry trees were planted along a pathway west of the Children’s Adventure Playground in High Park. The trees were donated by Yoriki and Midori Iwasaki as a special gift to the people of Toronto and “a joyful symbol of life”.

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Through the Consulate General of Japan in Toronto’s “Sakura Project”, 34 Yoshino ‘Akebono’ and Kwanzan ‘Fugenzo’ Sakura trees were donated to High Park in 2001 on the east shore of Grenadier Pond near the Maple Leaf garden.

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In 2006, 16 additional Yoshino Sakura trees were planted near the original 1959 planting site.”

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The park was quite crowded as the trees were in 100% bloom.

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Despite the crowded atmosphere, seeing the cherry blossoms remains an important tradition for a lot of Torontonians – myself included.

Many other beautiful signs of spring were also on view at the park.

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Here is a young mountain goat at the High Park Zoo.

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I have saved the best for last…the baby capybaras.

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Huey, Dewey, and Louie were born to parents Bonnie and Clyde in late winter 2016. As you may remember, Bonnie and Clyde are the two capybaras who escaped their enclosure in the summer of 2016 and spent most of the summer on the lam in the High Park woods. Despite efforts to catch them, they remained elusive and were often seen swimming in the park’s ponds.

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They were a media favourite and became town heroes of a sort. They were finally recaptured in the fall and have since settled into domestic family life.

Have you seen the cherry blossoms in High Park, or at another location? Had you heard about Bonnie and Clyde’s escapades before now? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Stay tuned!

Sources:

https://www.highparknaturecentre.com/high-park-cherry-blossom-watch/history/?doing_wp_cron=1493808152.7276589870452880859375

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High Park Cherry Blossoms 2016!

So you might have heard that there were no cherry blossoms at High Park this year due to weather conditions (i.e. an unseasonably cold March and April, with just a few warm spells). There was supposed to be a few blooms on a couple of trees, but that’s it. No large crowds this year to admire the trees, and no photos of yourself beside an unbelievably beautiful sakura loaded with huge pink blooms 😦

I decided to go there anyway – not only for my annual cherry blossom pilgrimage (perhaps I would see one or two blooms to photograph), but to see spring in High Park.

Buds had changed into tiny leaves….

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…and some early flowers had appeared.

 

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The old magnolia tree was in full bloom, however, and it always puts on a stunning display.

 

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I also saw this fellow begging some park visitors for food… 🙂 but as everyone in Toronto knows, you (unfortunately) don’t have to visit a park to see a raccoon. You can see them in your garbage can every Friday.

 

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I had already passed the main cherry tree area, and there was not one bloom in sight. I knew of another small area with a few cherry trees, so I headed there…hoping….

 

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I was glad to see that there was a few on some of the smaller trees.

 

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This was the extent of the blossoms…. 😦

 

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It was getting late in the day, and I had just headed up a hill on my way out of the park when I felt compelled to turn around for some reason. Suddenly, I saw an enormous cherry tree just covered in huge, beautiful blooms.

 

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This tree, along Centre Road,  is not on a trail or in an easily accessible area. It’s on the side of the road among thick woods.

 

 

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I have no idea why it bloomed so abundantly when the none of the other cherry trees in the park seemed to be able to manage any at all.

 

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Does anyone have any theories as to how or why this could happen…? …or any life-affirming metaphors that describe this situation? (haha)

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allan Gardens = COLOUR !!

Toronto looks pretty blah during the winter months. Greys and browns dominate the landscape.

On the plus side, we have been having a very mild winter this year. Yesterday, on the third of February, the temperature reached PLUS EIGHT ! Unheard of! Usually I would be running up my front steps to the door as fast as possible after work wearing my winter boots, a down-stuffed parka with the hood up, mittens, and a scarf to protect myself from the bitter cold.

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Instead, I strolled up my front stairway at a leisurely pace and, instead of running into the house to bask in the artificial heat of our old, overworked furnace, I continued to the backyard where I sat IN THE WARM SUNSHINE on a LAWN CHAIR while wearing a T-shirt and running shoes. No parka! No hat! No mittens! No scarf! Wooooo ! ! !

While it’s been very warm (comparatively speaking), we could all still use a reprieve from the dead of winter’s grey and brown palette.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Allan Gardens Conservatory.

 

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The site of Allan Gardens, at Gerrard Street East and Jarvis Street, was bought by George Allan in 1858 and made into a park.

 

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“In 1864, the City of Toronto purchased the surrounding lands from Mr. Allan, which it then re-leased to the Horticultural Society on the condition that the grounds be publicly accessible and free of charge.

 

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In tribute to the accomplishments and memory of George Allan, it was renamed Allan Gardens shortly after his death in 1901.

 

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A disastrous fire on June 6,1902 destroyed the Horticultural Pavilion and parts of the conservatory. City architect Robert McCallum designed its replacement, the classically proportioned domed Palm House which opened in 1910 and stands on the site today.

 

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The 1920’s saw two new display greenhouses added to the north and south ends of the Palm House.

The City rejuvenated the park from 1956 to 1963.

 

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With new lands acquired along Jarvis and Carlton, the total site grew to almost 13 acres.

In 1957, it constructed additional greenhouse wings to expand conservatory display space and reconstructed the adjacent garden areas.

 

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Today, Allan Gardens Conservatory greenhouses comprise over 16,000 square feet. It boasts an extensive permanent collection that is supplemented by colourful seasonal plants and flower shows.”

 

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Allan Gardens remains free of charge and is open to the public from 10am to 5pm, 365 days a year.

 

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Here is the Palm House as it is seen today.

 

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Until winter ends…..

 

Stay tuned!

Source: City of Toronto – Allan Gardens website:  http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=8d31dada600f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

 

 

 

 

Oh Spring….please don’t stand me up again

Spring….*sigh*. It seems like a beautiful dream at this point, and nothing more.

It’s the end of February and it was close to -30 last night. I heard a weather reporter saying yesterday that this is the hardest, coldest winter in two decades. I can very easily believe that.

Right now it’s -11, or -22 with the wind chill. Tonight it’s supposed to be -22, or -31 with the wind chill. 

I think we all desperately need a change of pace. So here’s my little contribution to that end.

These photos were taken in High Park in the spring of 2012. It is my opinion that cherry and plum trees in blossom are one of the most beautiful things in the world.

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Awesome, right?!

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Stay tuned!