Best Ways to Celebrate Vancouver’s Cherry Blossoms
The Events and Fun Found at Vancouver's Annual Festival
Weary of winter? Commemorate spring and cultural diversity with Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Throughout the entire month of April, locals and visitors can participate in cultural events and concerts while walking beneath the spectacular pink and white blooms.
View the Trees
With over 43,000 cherry trees throughout the city, there’s no bad place to look at the bright and fragrant blossoms. The parks are the most vibrant, and visitors can enjoy them on their own or take part in one of the guided Tree Talks and Walks.
Each park has its own draw. The VanDusen Botanical Garden has more than 100 trees of 24 varieties. At the Japanese Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park, visitors can find one of Vancouver’s first cherry trees, planted in 1920. Queen Elizabeth Park has several late-bloomer, making it a colorful location even at the end of the festival. It’s also the location of The Big Picnic, where visitors can have lunch under the trees and enjoy vendors, Chinese fan dancing, and traditional Japanese music.
Cultural and Community Events
As Vancouver’s cherry trees originated as a gift from Japan, it’s no surprise that the festival incorporates Japanese culture. Haiku are written for the VCBF Haiku Invitational, with winning submissions read aloud at the Cherry Jam Downtown and Sakura Days Fair.
Speaking of, the Sakura Days Japan Fair is a two-day event showcasing Japanese performances, crafts, food, and pop culture. Held at the VanDusen Botanical Garden, visitors can get a real taste of what makes Japan unique with sake specialists and food vendors, world-renown Japanese musicians, and family-friendly workshops.
Other cultures are also incorporated into the festival, particularly through music. The best example is at Vancouver Sings One Song. This community-driven event gives volunteers, from professional to amateur singers, a chance to add their voice to the festival’s new, original song “Cherry Blossoms for You & Me,” as well as Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” the Navajo chant “Now I Walk in Beauty,” and the Japanese folk song “Sakura Sakura.”
The Spring Lights Illumination at Queen Elizabeth Park brings a new kind of beauty to the cherry trees, adding multicolored lanterns and vibrant projections. As the sun goes down, the blossoms are transformed into a dazzling rainbow, creating unmissable photo opportunities.
For those looking to get dressed up, the Sakura Night Gala is an exclusive dinner reception celebrating Asian-fusion flavors. Try signature dishes from Vancouver’s top local restaurants like Masayoshi, Notch8 Restaurant & Bar, and Benkei Ramen. Along with excellent cuisine, guests will be treated to wine pairings, Gabaron tea, and dessert from James’ Gelato.
-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, ALLISON BENNETT
-Photos by Lukasz Szczepanski, Jonathan Nicomedes, & The Artona Group, provided by The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
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