We all need to take time to smell the roses—or enjoy the beauty of Vancouver’s lovely cherry blossoms. The Cherry Blossom Festival is in full bloom in our parks and neighbourhoods, so whether you take part in an organized event, or enjoy your own private picnic under a cherry tree, don’t put it off—they will be gone in a puff of pink before you can say hanami.
This Saturday April 9 and Sunday April 10 VanDusen Botanical Garden hosts Sakura Days, a fair dedicated to all things Japanese. Under the canopy of pink cherry blossoms, learn about tea rituals, watch culinary demonstrations, and listen to haiku readings. Go for lunch and stay for the ‘tree talks and walks’ guided tour on the different cherry tree varieties that sets out at 1:30 pm.
Ahoy mates, the Blossom Barge sets sail Saturday April 16 and Sunday April 17 around False Creek. As a special event added to the festival this year in celebration of its tenth anniversary, the Barge will contain 40 different varieties of cherry trees. With so many trees aboard there is no room for passengers, but plan to catch the flotilla sailing along False Creek before heading to Granville Island at noon on Saturday where you’ll find live musical performances and international yo-yo entertainer Harrison Lee.
If you are a DIY-er, think about organizing your own cherry blossom picnic. Called hanami in Japan, it’s a centuries-old tradition to host a picnic with family and friends under the blooms of cherry trees. The best places to hanami in Vancouver are Vanier Park, Stanley Park near the Rose Garden, and Queen Elizabeth Park. Pack your picnic basket and your waterproof blanket—the air may be warm but the ground isn’t dry yet. But most importantly, bring your friends: as Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa writes, ‘in the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger.’
Looking for more fun family outings? We’ve got you covered. Check out our 11 Places to Take Kids to Play in Vancouver.