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Vehicle-Free Cherry Blossoms
April 18, 2019 by Sara Street

Starting in 2019, during cherry blossom peak bloom, High Park will be vehicle-free. This decision was made by the City of Toronto and Toronto Police Services to ensure the safety of all visitors to the park during peak bloom.

We, as the High Park Nature Centre, are doing what we can to spread this news – but we could use everyone’s help to get the word out that there will be no vehicles allowed in the park or nearby parking. On your journey to the High Park cherry blossoms, it is best to park vehicles at a commuter lots and take transit, or to walk and use active transportation (bike, rollerblade, etc.) if you can. If you have certain accessibility needs, we are happy to share that the City of Toronto has arranged for Wheel-Trans to be authorized to enter the park during the vehicle ban. The seasonal Trackless Train will also be operational during this time. In recent years, driving the loop during peak bloom was virtually impossible due to vehicle congestion. This decision for a vehicle-free peak bloom will lead to fewer emissions from vehicles in the park and can better ensure that park visitors are able to enjoy a more relaxing cherry blossom experience once they get here.

We recognize that this decision has been controversial and that some people will be negatively affected. We plan to do everything we can to document and reflect on what works well and possible changes that could be implemented for future years - it’s an opportunity for us to shape how this natural event is experienced in the future. The City of Toronto and Toronto Police Services have deemed that this is the safest way for visitors to enjoy the blooms.

There are so many ways to get to High Park by transit - bus, streetcars, subways and Wheel-Trans. Please visit the TTC Trip Planner to find your best transit route to High Park. Note that within the park, the seasonal Trackless Train will also be operational during this time

If you are coming from outside of Toronto, you can use a commuter parking lot and take public transit to make the final leg of your journey to High Park. Did you know that High Park is not the only place in Toronto that has beautiful cherry blossoms? Other cherry blossom areas in Toronto may be quieter than High Park. The City has put together this great map and list of blossoms throughout Toronto. Check the list out here:

Baltimore Oriole photo by Andrew Yee

High Park has many ecologically sensitive areas and the vehicle-free peak bloom can help minimize the impacts of the heavy traffic in the park. This is especially important for our Black Oak Savannah - one of North America’s most endangered habitats. We all share the responsibility to leave no trace. Some tips for your visit this year:

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