Now that sunshine and warm weather are finally on the forecast, Toronto’s favourite season will soon bere.
And, of course, we’re talking about cherry blossom season.
Every spring, tens of thousands of Torontonians flock to High Park to catch a glimpse of the blossoms in peak bloom, which usually only last between four to 10 days, depending on weather conditions.
And while viewing the cherry blossoms is a beloved tradition for many, it causes headaches for residents in the area, who have to deal with the influx of vehicles causing transit and traffic delays.
If you’ve ever driven near the park during peak bloom, you’ll understand how frustrating it can be. There’s not really anywhere to park, which is why visitors often end up blocking laneways and driveways.
This is why, for the first time ever, vehicles will not be allowed to park or drive through High Park during the peak bloom period between late April through early May.
This means you will not be allowed to drive into the park to any of the lots near Grenadier Café, Children’s Playground or High Park Zoo.
The change is aimed to increase public safety and ease traffic congestion both in the park and surrounding neighbourhood.
During the peak bloom period, there will be police officers and police vehicles stationed at entry points throughout the park. There will also be officers in various capacities such as on horses and bicycles patrolling inside the park area.
Additionally, there will be a “significant increase” in the number of parking enforcement unit officers assigned to the park during the event and the officers will ticket vehicles found to be in violation of the new rules.
Officers will also have the ability to tow vehicles.
The City of Toronto is reminding the public that climbing the cherry trees, pulling on the branches and plucking off the blooms can damage the trees. Visitors need to stay on existing trails to protect ecologically sensitive areas.
As always, other modes of transportation are encouraged. Those taking the TTC can access the park from High Park, Keel and Runnymede stations for easy access to most cherry trees.
According to Sakura in High Park, only Wheel-Trans vehicles will be allowed to enter the park to allow those with special needs to see the cherry blossoms. You can learn more about this TTC service here.
Residents in the community are able to file a complaint with Parking Enforcement if you find any vehicles blocking your driveway or are parked illegally. You can learn how to file a complaint here.
Visiting High Park can be very busy during peak bloom, especially in the late afternoon, evenings and weekends.
If you find the park is too crowded to visit, there are many other parks in the city with cherry blossoms you can visit.