I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love the sight of a cherry blossom tree in bloom. The hundreds of delicate petals that ensconce each individual tree to create a heavenly canopy of pink above our heads are the ultimate symbol of spring.
And spring is in the air.
So is the city’s annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival is in its eighth year and is the brainchild of Linda Poole, the festival’s executive director. Poole explains that she got the idea for the festival about ten years ago while she was in Haiti with her husband, who was stationed there.
“I became friends with the Japanese ambassador and he told me about the hanami [“flower viewing”] festivals in Japan, and I thought ‘Wow! When we come back home it would be the perfect idea to launch in Vancouver’. So that’s what I did.”
Poole says her passion for cherry blossoms stems from what the blossoms represent.
“I hate the winters. They’re so gray…and everyone’s kind of shut in because it rains all the time,” Poole shared.
“[But] then out of the dark winter comes these amazing, brave little blossoms. And when you see them…they open your heart.”
Events associated with the festival increase each year, and attendance continues to grow. This year’s festival is going to be even bigger and better, according to Poole.
A few of this year’s festival events include:
- A Haiku Invitational: an online haiku contest that runs online until June 2, and which this year has a new “Best of Vancouver” category.
- Sakura Night: an evening of fine Japanese dining at Tojo’s Restaurant in support of charity (March 30)
- Cherry Jam: an outdoor concert event at Burrard Skytrain Station that is going to be emceed by CTV’s Norma Reid. (April 3)
The festival includes many other events that are family friendly.
To find out more information about these and other festival events, visit the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website.