This past weekend, I went on my annual pilgrimage to see the flowering cherry trees in High Park.
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.
“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.
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”.
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.
In 2006, 16 additional Yoshino Sakura trees were planted near the original 1959 planting site.”
The park was quite crowded as the trees were in 100% bloom.
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.
Here is a young mountain goat at the High Park Zoo.
I have saved the best for last…the baby capybaras.
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.
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!