High Park will close during the pre- and- peak bloom periods, but residents will be able to see the trees online
Toronto is going to livestream the cherry blossoms in High Park this year, city spokesperson Brad Ross tells NOW.
Speaking in the latest episode of our NOW What podcast, Ross says residents hoping to catch peak bloom will be able to do so online.
“We are going to have a virtual experience form high park – a live streaming of the cherry blossoms,” he told host Norman Wilner. “It won’t be quite the same – we get that – but nothing’s been quite the same since five weeks ago. The cherry blossoms will be there but High park will be closed off to public access.”
During the pre-bloom and peak bloom periods, the city will close High Park to avoid crowds. The park closure dates will depend on weather and will be announced when the bloom period is determined.
In a statement, the city said it is creating “multiple livestream events and videos.” Details will be announced soon.
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.
Ross urged residents not to go to High Park, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Centennial Park or any parks with cherry blossoms. The website tracking blooms has been suspended due to the pandemic.
“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.”
Toronto parks are open but park amenities and playgrounds are closed in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. The city has passed a bylaw making it illegal to break physical distancing rules in parks and public squares.
In a statement over the weekend, Toronto officials said that Trinity Bellwoods Park is “the most problematic park in the city when it comes to people flaunting regulations.”
Enforcement officers are fining people who do not live in the same household and do not maintain two meters distance when in public parks or squares.
Listen to the full interview with Ross here.
This story was updated on April 22.