These trees are not native to Canada; in 1959, 2000 Japanese Somei-Yoshino Sakura trees (the most popular type of cherry blossom in Japan) were donated on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo in appreciation of Toronto accepting re-located Japanese-Canadians following WWII. Additional trees were then planted in High Park in 1984, 2001, and 2006 with the majority of them being gifts from a number of different sources. Now there are trees throughout the park.
When we arrived at our first group of Sakura trees, we were blown away by the beauty. We got up close and personal to see the flowers that were much whiter than we imagined, highlighted by pale pink near the stem.
"Hanami", the Japanese custom of viewing and picnicking under blooming Sakura trees, started over 1200 years ago with the elite of the Imperial court. By the Edo period, this tradition had spread to the common people. On Saturday, unbeknownst to us, we also participated in this tradition... by buying and eating hot dogs under the blossoms.
We had a great Saturday full of flowers, walking, and food and were ready for a nap by the end of it. If you want to get your fix of cherry blossoms, have no fear, the slideshow has you covered!