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The park is closing for the cherry blossom bloom on April 30
The city will close High Park to visitors on April 30 to deter large crowds from gathering for the cherry blossom bloom.
The move is being taken as part of Toronto’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 and ensure physical distancing.
Instead, residents are being encouraged to check out the High Park cherry tree grove via the BloomCam, a continuous livestream, as well as multiple live events and videos featuring virtual walk-throughs of the blossoming Sakura (cherry blossom) trees.
The live events are weather-dependent and will be announced on the city’s website and social media accounts. During two 30-minute livestreams, Indigenous Knowledge Keeper André Morrisseau will recognize the traditional territories of the Indigenous Peoples through a Land Acknowledgement and High Park Nature Centre experts will take viewers on nature and history walks around the cherry blossom trees.
The bloom period typically lasts four-to-10 days and takes place in late April or early May and normally attracts thousands of visitors.
“While we understand many residents use High Park every day, a partial closure of the park isn’t possible given the number of cherry blossom trees throughout the park and the size and layout of the park itself,” the city said in a statement. “Health and parks staff believe this is the best plan to discourage gathering and protect public health.”
Bylaw officers and police will be patrolling the park to ensure people do not enter and giving out $750 tickets to rule breakers.
Meanwhile, the cherry blossoms area at Trinity Bellwoods Park have been fenced off and will be patrolled by enforcement officers during the bloom period. Smaller sites of cherry blossoms might get patrols as well, the city said.
The closure follows similar decisions in other jurisdictions with both COVID-19 and cherry blossoms: Japan, Korea, Europe and Washington, D.C.
The park is already closed to vehicular traffic and will remain closed to vehicles during the pandemic.
Check out the BloomCam below: