Published Thursday, May 9, 2019 5:16PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 9, 2019 5:22PM EDT
Every year tens of thousands of people visit Toronto’s High Park for the few days when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. This year the park is taking extra measures to handle the crowds.
“It’s an unspoken number that there’s hundreds of thousands of people that come to the park for the cherry blossoms,” says Sara Street, executive director of the High Park Nature Centre.
“They’re here just to see what the blossom trees are all about.”
To boost pedestrian and cyclist safety, the city has made the sprawling west-end park car-free for the duration of the bloom. That means visitors will have to leave their cars outside the park grounds and either walk or bike in to see the flowers.
It’s the 60th anniversary for many of the Sakura trees in High Park. In 1959, Japan’s ambassador to Canada gave Toronto 2,000 trees to thank the city for accommodating Japanese-Canadians who relocated after the Second World War.
And while the trees are a huge hit on social media, Street says it’s important to enjoy them and the park responsibly. This means leaving no trash behind, keeping dogs on leashes and keeping your hands off the delicate flowers.
“Just being respectful of the environment, because as respectful as we can be will mean the trees will last that much longer and will be here for future generations to enjoy,” she said.