If the warmer days, bursts of colour and fragrance of fresh blossoms put a bounce in your step and a smile on your face, you’re not alone. Join your tribe of green-thumbed gardeners and flower enthusiasts as you make the pilgrimage to one of these spring blossom festivals to celebrate the rebirth of nature. Or just go for the Instagram gold.
Psst: all you romantics and lovebirds, forget about Valentine’s Day, this is perfect proposal material.
Sakura Cherry Blossoms in High Park, Toronto, late April – mid May
The grove of Cherry Blossom (Sakura) trees along the High Park Trail and around the Grenadier Pond were gifted to Toronto in 1959 from the citizens of Tokyo to the citizens of Toronto for their support of Japanese-Canadian refugees after WWII. The bond between the two cities and the planting of more Sakura continues to this day, and the outcome grew into what is now known as the “Sakura Project”. Be sure to follow the Bloom Prediction online. When the Sakura are in full bloom, it’s like something right out of a fairy tale.
Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa, May 11-21
Ottawa’s love affair with tulips began in 1945 as a symbol of friendship and peace between the Dutch and Canadian governments, and has blossomed into the largest of its kind in the world. Over 3,000 tulips will take over Commissioners Park near Dows Lake, as well as Major’s Hill Park and the Byward Market area. Cycle, walk, skip or tiptoe the tulip-lined trails. Let a knowledgeable guide show you the highlights on a walking tour.
Warkworth Lilac Festival, May 26-27
The festivities actually last a month, with the kick-off taking place the last weekend in May. Visitors will be treated to rare and beautiful varieties of lilacs along the Millennium Lilac Trail in one of Northumberland County’s prettiest little towns. DYK: The staggering varieties of lilacs on display produce a feast for both the eyes and nose. Prepare for sensory overload, in the best way imaginable.
The Bruce Peninsula Orchid Festival, outside of Tobermory, June 1-3
The botanically diverse Bruce Peninsula is home to 44 species of orchids, 42 of which are native to the area, as well as rare species of daisies and irises, and old-growth cedars (oldest trees in eastern North America). The Bruce Peninsula National Park Visitor Centre serves as HQ (don’t miss the wine and cheese social!), offering field activities such as guided hikes and photography workshops in and around the park.
Peony Festival, Oshawa, June 9-10
From the imperial estates in ancient China to Kew Gardens in London, the vibrant peony has graced gardens the world over. Admire over 300 varieties at Oshawa’s Peony Festival in mid-June – one of Festivals and Events Ontario’s ‘Top 100’. A highlight will be the Canadian Peony Society’s Peony Show and Competition. This is serious business as the judges are permitted to ‘withhold an award if, in their opinion, the exhibit is not worthy’.
Sakura Project image courtesy Steven Joniak, sakurainhighpark.com