Each spring, Vancouver becomes an enchanted wonderland where 40,000 perfectly pink cherry blossom trees come into bloom throughout the city and locals get outside to explore the stunning sights.
The beloved foliage is so popular amongst locals and visitors that the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival was born.
Bike through the tree-lined streets of Vancouver — Photo courtesy of Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (Facebook)
Since this nonprofit's inception in 2005, the festival has continued to grow and attract more spectators over the years. The festival runs for the duration of the cherry blossom season and it takes place all over Vancouver. From bike rides and walks to haiku poetry and painting, the festival celebrates these beautiful blooms in a variety of ways.
This year they'll be hosting Tree Talks and Walks with nine walks and two talks, beginning late March. There's no need to register for the walks; simply show up with comfortable walking shoes (and an umbrella if the weather's iffy.) If you'd like to attend one of the talks, you can register on their website.
While there are guided walking tours of some festival favorites, the Cherry Blossom Viewing Map is an up-to-date, online tool for those looking to go out on their own. This map is a result of the festival's "Cherry Scouts" locating, photographing and recording their favorites across 23 neighborhoods in the city.
If you prefer riding your bike, there's also a Cherry Blossom bike ride route that's beautiful.
Cherry Blossoms in the city — Photo courtesy of Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (Facebook)
While the festival itself takes place in Vancouver, one aspect of the festival is global. The Haiku Invitational is an international program that invites people from all around the world to participate. This year's theme is about celebration, and submissions will be accepted online from March 1 – June 1, 2016.
Another popular event during the festival is the Sakura Days Japan Fair that's hosted by VanDusen Botanical Garden and is presented by the Japan Fair Association of Vancouver. Visitors will enjoy a Japanese tea ceremony, Japanese food and samples of sake, along with workshops for calligraphy, origami, ikebana (flower arranging) and a variety of other Japanese arts and crafts. It's definitely a fun, hands-on experience!
This year's Sakura Days Japan Fair takes place on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10 from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. VanDusen Botanical Garden is a beautiful space to visit any time of year and it's nice to visit throughout as the garden takes on different looks as the seasons change.
These are just a few of the neat things that happen during the Vancouver Cherry Festival Season. You can get the full lowdown on the VCFS' site. Because Mother Nature does what she wants when she wants, it's advisable to visit their site for the most up-to-date information. This year's festival events are due to start on March 24, 2016.
However you choose to celebrate one of the most beautiful seasons in the city, make sure to soak it up because before you know it, it'll be snowing pink petals and they'll soon be gone.