27 February 2018
Vancouver is a vibrant and bustling metropolis in western Canada, known for its cultural diversity, incredible scenery and idyllic pace. One of the most beautiful times of year in Vancouver is in April when they host the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Over 40,000 cherry trees, which line the city’s streets, spring into bloom, with visitors flocking to celebrate the clouds of light pink and white blossoms that dominate Vancouver’s neighbourhoods.
Bloom with a view
Vancouver is renowned for green spaces, and its many parks and gardens are ideal showcases for these trees. Queen Elizabeth Park touts several varieties of cherry tree which bloom at different intervals between early March and late April, while the famous Stanley Park has rows of blossoms near the formal rose garden and its Japanese Canadian War Memorial. For a truly cultural experience and a peaceful escape from traditional city life, head to the Nitobe Memorial Garden where colourful cherry trees are found in a traditional Japanese garden setting.
There are also several urban places to view this pink and white spectacle. Walk beneath a canopy of blooms at the downtown Burrard SkyTrain station, which wraps around City Hall at West 12th Street and Cambie, or take a stroll along Yew Street in Vancouver’s laid-back and trendy Kitsilano district - the beachside hangout that’s home to many young, urban professionals and has chic cafés, independent boutiques and gift stores aplenty.
History in bloom
Vancouver’s original 500 cherry trees were a gift from the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama in the 1930s, thanking the city for honouring Japanese Canadians who served in WWI. Celebrating the city’s long friendship with Japan, this family-friendly festival-within-a-festival hosted at VanDusen Botanical Garden includes tea ceremonies, ikebana flower-arranging classes, sake tasting, geisha dances, Japanese cuisine, kimono demonstrations and much more.
The Japanese say that “there is no stranger under the cherry tree,” so get involved and enjoy the blossoms with like-minded people. Grab a bike and join the Bike The Blossoms ride, a free group tour that starts out by Trout Lake and winds through some of Vancouver’s petal-laden neighbourhoods, or go to one of the Petal Picnic viewing parties that take place in parks and gardens across the city.
Celebrate good times
Vancouverites honour Cherry Blossom Season with a series of celebrations suitable for people of all ages. From casual get-togethers through to spectacular events, the city knows just how to toast this natural display.
The Sakura Night evening reception in Stanley Park brings together some of Vancouver’s best chefs for Asian-fusion cuisine during a grazing-style dinner, while the Cherry Jam Downtown Concert always kicks off proceedings with a musical homage to the season. Here you’ll find dance groups, bands and the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra performing under the fluttering, snowy petals at Burrard Station.
And for those that have found their own inspiration amongst the cherry blossoms, the festival offers a Haiku Invitational competition and a BC Blossom photo contest – both of which are open to everyone.
Vancouver’s cherry blossoms are sure to take your breath away. To find out how you can join in on the action, contact your Travel Counsellor today.