Toronto cherry blossom bloom ‘on schedule.’ When to expect them at High Park

Click to play video: 'High Park cherry blossoms on schedule to bloom in Toronto'
High Park cherry blossoms on schedule to bloom in Toronto
WATCH: The cherry blossom blooms that bring thousands to High Park in Toronto every year are on schedule, according to those at the High Park Nature Centre – Apr 12, 2024

Many Torontonians may be wondering when the cherry blossoms in High Park will bloom.

The west-end park’s sakura trees, given to the city in 1959 by Japan’s ambassador to Canada, have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to the park every year.

Despite the warmest winter ever in the city’s history, the cherry blossom bloom cycle is “on schedule,” said Rohith Rao, fundraising and communications director at the High Park Nature Centre.

“We get questions every day from people asking us on social media when is peak bloom going to occur,” he told Global News Toronto.

“They’re really pretty to look at, and a lot of people just get a sense of enjoyment when being among the blossoms. It’s a great sign of the arrival of spring.”

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Cherry blossom bloom weather dependent

Blossoms in High Park usually reach peak bloom between late April and early May, Rao said.

The blooming period begins when 20 per cent of the cherry blossoms are open and ends when the petals fall, the nature centre said on its website. Peak bloom starts when at least 70 per cent of the blossoms are open.

Click to play video: 'Safety reminders for photographers during cherry blossom season'
Safety reminders for photographers during cherry blossom season

However, the blooming cycle is temperature dependent. In 2016, there was no peak bloom due to unpredictable weather patterns during the winter and early spring, the nature centre said.

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“The winter temperatures do have an effect, but the strongest effect is from the temperatures during late winter, early spring,” Rao said.

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“We saw the green buds emerge slightly earlier than expected (this year), but when the green buds had emerged, we started seeing more cool weather that came in … and that helped slow down the bloom development process.”

Cherry blossoms in Stage 3 of six-stage cycle

As of Thursday, the cherry blossoms are in what the nature centre calls Stage 3 of a six-stage bloom process.

In this stage, the florets begin to extend out of the buds; flower stems get longer in Stage 4, while fluffy white sakura blossoms begin to open in Stage 5.

Peak bloom is Stage 6; once the flowers are open, they can last anywhere from four to 10 days, depending on weather conditions. Cool, calm weather can extend the bloom period, while warm, unsettled weather can shorten it.

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Click to play video: 'Where to see cherry blossoms in Toronto this spring'
Where to see cherry blossoms in Toronto this spring

“Spring is a nice symbol of renewal for everyone after the winter season, and it brings everybody a sense of joy, a sense of hope, for the rest of the year,” Rao said.

“We love seeing people find a way to connect with nature through the cherry blossom season.”

When will peak bloom occur this year?

Rao told Global News Toronto last Thursday that the High Park Nature Centre expects its cherry blossoms to bloom sometime in the next two weeks.

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He added that High Park will be vehicle-free during peak bloom to ensure safety for all visitors, though the centre said TTC Wheel-Trans vehicles are expected.

In an update Tuesday, the nature centre said it expects the cherry blossoms to reach peak bloom on April 22.

Cherry blossoms can also be found throughout the city, including at Centennial Park, Edwards Gardens, Exhibition Place, Trinity Bellwoods Park and Woodbine Park.

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