Every year, Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, or locally known as Sakura Days Japan Fair, prepares and introduces different sorts of events and activities to celebrate the beauty of spring and more especially, the blooming of cherry trees. The festival began in 2005 by Linda Poole – the executive director of the said festival. As a matter of interest, this is one of the youngest cherry blossom festivals in the world. Annually, Vancouverites commemorate the 800 cherry trees given to them by the Japanese. For the former, the present-day 40,000 cherry trees bursting with pink and white blossoms is a consolation prize after the rainy season. Vancouver’s more than 50 parks and gardens are such ideal sites for watching this floral display. However, there are also several urban spots where you can view the dear cherry trees. The good news is that you can choose the best place to go picnicking at.
• Queen Elizabeth Park is a home to several varieties of cherry trees that bloom asynchronously all throughout early March and late April.
• Stanley Park is also a good choice of spot. A number of rows of blossoming trees stand close to the formal rose garden and the Japanese-Canadian World War I war memorial.
• VanDusen Botanical Garden protects and boasts more than 100 cherry trees of 24 varieties.
• Nitobe Memorial Garden turns into a traditional Japanese garden setting during the festival. This garden offers a peaceful, cultural, and wonderful experience beneath the snow-white blossoms.
• You can find several Yoshino cherry trees around Kitsilano Beach Park and some more on the parking lot and east of the tennis courts. About two weeks following the Yoshino season, Yew Street that leads to Kitsilano Beach becomes an amazing scene in Vancouver.
• Burrard Skytrain Station, according to many, may not be a suitable location for picture-taking activities due to bad lighting conditions caused by the high-rise buildings around the station. Absolutely, though, this is one of the best venues for cherry blossom viewing.
This year, the festival will be featuring these major events:
• Haiku Invitational
• Sakura Night
• Plein-Air Blossom Painting
• Cherry Jam Downtown Concert
• Sakura Illumination
• Kite Dance
• Cherry Blossom Picnics
• Sakura Days Japan Fair
• Blossom Bollywood and Kite Dance
• Bike the Blossom
• Tree Talks and Walks
• BC Blossom Watch Photo Contest
WHEN TO GO: April 11-12, 2015
MUST-SEE: Never miss the Haiku Invitational in which aspiring poets write their own entries of haiku. There is no cash prize, but the reward is so much more than money. Celebrities shall read the poems of the winners and some of the pieces may even appear on the trains and buses throughout Vancouver. There are a lot more highlights that you should not miss. Check out the festival’s official website for more details.
WHERE TO STAY: The Listel Hotel is the most art-filled hotel in Vancouver. The hotel features different expressions of art including original paintings, works of blown glass, sculptures, and a famous collection of regional First Nations art. You cannot help but notice the sitting area with velvet theater curtains and a marble fireplace at the lobby. But it is not only about their art that makes them popular. It is also their affordability, accessibility, and ambience that cause them to be tourists’ No. 1 favorite hotel in Vancouver.