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Credit: photodreamz_

Until April 22nd, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival will take your breath away.

 

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival: The most beautiful time of year

 

There’s an image of my daughter Maia I’ll always carry. She was two and a half, we’d just walked home from Granville Island in a growing wind and she was whining about being tired, hungry and cold. Then we turned onto our street—one that’s lined in cherry trees.

 

Blossoms were swirling all around us. Suddenly her complaints were gone and she was immersed in a pale pink wonderland. “Butterfly Snow!!” she called it as she twirled through the fragrant blizzard.

 

Nothing says spring like cherry blossoms against a crisp blue sky. But until that day, when Maia danced and frolicked through the blossoms, I had never really thought about Vancouver’s historic trees.

 

Cherry Blossoms Vancouverphotodreamz_

When the cherry blossoms are in bloom, there's not a prettier city than Vancouver. (Image: Flickr / Paul Joseph)

 

A history of cherry blossoms in Vancouver

It turns out our city’s first cherry trees came in the 1930s when the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama gave the Parks Board 500 Japanese cherry trees. More followed in the 1950s and gradually the city changed its planting style from towering shade trees to the smaller flowering trees.

 

These days we have about 37,000 flowering cherry and plum trees lining our streets and filling our parks—and come April they should all be in bloom.

 

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

It was these blooms that inspired the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. And if you’ve never heard of the festival, that’s because it’s relatively new (the first festival was held in 2005). But the event caught on quickly.

 

This year’s festival runs from March 26 through April 22, 2011.

 

Check out the website for events including biking through the blossoms (April 16), painting classes (every Saturday April 2-23) and the Cherry Jam (March 31). The website also has a map and list of city parks available for finding prime spots to photograph the trees, take in the sweet-scented blossoms and enjoy your own Butterfly Snow.

 

You can also learn more about the history of the blossoms by joining one of several Tree Talks and Walks being organized in various Vancouver neighbourhoods:

  • April 6, 1-3 pm: Under the 'Akebono' cherry trees at Burrard Skytrain Station
  • April 9, 10-11:30 am: UBC
  • April 10, 3-4:30 pm: Stanley Park

Many of you in the Lower Mainland got into the spirit of things, purchasing your very own Birthday Blossoms cherry trees.

 

Roughly 2,700 cherry blossoms were sold to citizens in the Lower Mainland. The biggest grove of birthday blossoms will be planted in Richmond by the YVR airport authority. Another big grove of 50 cherry blossom trees will be planted in Richmond at Gary Point in Steveston.