Cherry Blossom Festival, Vancouver, spring, Akebono cherry trees

It’s cherry blossom time in Vancouver

Cherry Blossom Festival, Vancouver, spring, Akebono cherry trees

The full bloom Akebono cherry trees at the Burrard Street SkyTrain station draw quite the fan crowd. (Julia Pelish/

Story by Peg Fong Editor

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — It’s cherry blossom time in Vancouver and nothing heralds spring like the sight of the flowering cherry trees all around the city.

There are 40,000 cherry trees in the city. They were brought over as gifts from Japan and a way to renew the ancient Sakura Festivals of Japan right here in Canada.

Burrard Skytrain, Vancouver, Cherry blossom festival, Akebono cherry trees

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Cherry Jam held in the  indoor concourse of the Burrard Street SkyTrain station on Thursday, April 4th  begins at noon to celebrate “petals falling.” (Julia Pelish/

Every spring, the beloved Sakura or cherry blossom blooms in Japan, signalling the end of winter. All around Japan, the appearance of the national flower was seen as a symbol of renewal and hope.

Spectators head out to locations around Japan to view the phenomenon, known as Hanami and drink, eat and sing songs to celebrate the cherry blossoms.

Here in Vancouver, the Cherry Blossom Festival has been celebrating the arrival of the Sakura since 2005 and the festival moved permanently to VanDusen Botanial Garden three years later.

The festival inspires participants to express their response to the trees in the art form of their choosing, whether it’s through music, poetry, photography, art or cuisine.

Cherry Blossom festival, vancouver, spring

One of the rites of a Vancouver spring is to sit beneath the cherry blossoms on a warm afternoon and embrace the end of winter. (Julia Pelish/

This year, the festival is fostering international friendships and cross-cultural exchanges through the international Haiku Invitational program.

There’s also an outdoor, active component to the festival with events such as “bike the blossoms” or guided walking tours of the best viewing spots to see the cherry blossoms. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website has detailed information about all of the events.

In Japanese culture these delicate blossoms are a metaphor for the brief nature of life as they flutter away almost as quickly as they appear. People need to get out and enjoy the view while they can.

Check this map to locate where the cherry trees are blooming; and don’t worry, the work will wait until you get back.

Email us your pictures of the cherry blossoms in your backyard or neighbourhood or direct them to our Twitter or Instagram address (@VacayCanada).

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