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Vehicle-Free Cherry Blossoms

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The season for cherry blossoms is finally around the corner. Just like spring is a sign of change and rebirth so are cherry blossoms. We are lucky to be able to enjoy this beautiful time of year at High Park. What’s more, we’re able to enjoy vehicle-free cherry blossoms.

Increased Traffic and Environmental Concerns

The cherry blossom season in High Park draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the park each year. This would also mean a sudden increase in the number of vehicles passing through the park.

While cars are a popular means of transportation to the park, a sharp increase in the number of cars and other vehicles in the park and the pollution they bring with them can have a severely negative impact on High Park’s ecosystems and wildlife. As animal and nature lovers, our goal is to ensure the safety of plants and animals that call High Park home.

Besides being a tourism hotspot during the cherry blossom season, High Park is also home to sensitive ecosystems like the globally rare Black Oak Savannah and several vulnerable species of plants and animals.

In fact, High Park is also considered an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest by the Province of Ontario, has more than half of its area designated as an Environmentally Significant Area by the City of Toronto and the Grenadier Pond and its associated wetlands are considered a Provincially Significant Wetland.

Car pollution affects the earth’s soil, air, and water. Nitrous oxide and sulphur oxide when mixed with rainwater will create acid rain. This can damage forests, crops, and other vegetation. Particulates from vehicle emissions can contaminate lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

Not only are vehicle emissions harmful to the environment around us, but they are also harmful to people. Diesel engines emit high levels of airborne particles of soot and metal. 

These pollutants can cause skin and eye irritation and allergies. Carbon monoxide, another exhaust gas, can be dangerous to infants and to anyone with heart disease.

Keeping the park vehicle-free with minimal traffic is one way of ensuring the animals and their environment are protected during this peak visitor season.

Furthermore, in the past, we recognized that driving around the park during cherry blossom season would be a challenge because of the number of vehicles. So to allow for a more positive, environmentally responsible and stress-free experience, High Park will be park vehicle-free during cherry blossom season. 

The City of Toronto and the Toronto Police Service believe that this is the best and safest outcome for everyone to witness these trees’ natural blooms. Parking will not be allowed during this season to anyone within High Park.

Other Means of Transport for Vehicle-Free Cherry Blossoms

Remember cars are not the only way to get to High Park! There are many other ways such as buses, streetcars, and subways. 

For visitors with accessibility needs, the City of Toronto has allowed TTC Wheel-Trans to come into the park during this season! Also note that during this time within the park, the park’s popular Trackless Train will be running. If you absolutely need to bring your car with you, we encourage you to park it at a park-and-ride or try to find parking nearby.

When planning your trip visit TTC Trip Planner to find the best way for you to get to High Park. With the weather changing, take the opportunity to make travelling to High Park an adventure.

Biking to and through the park is another great way of exploring cherry blossoms in High Park and Toronto. Don’t own a bike? No worries! Check out a bike from Bike Share Toronto and bike into the bloom with their cherry blossom biking guides for the city.

Did you know we are not the only place in Toronto to view cherry blossoms? That’s right! For anyone looking for a quieter spot, there are other areas in Toronto that have cherry blossom trees. The City has posted maps of many other locations around the area to view the bloom of these trees. 

How You Can Help!

We encourage you to help too! Here are some ways you can do to make this a great experience for everyone: 

  • It is only natural to want to bring a pet to a park. You want them to enjoy nature! If you do plan on bringing your furry friend remember to keep them on a leash (except in designated off-leash areas). 
  • There are paved paths set up for you to comfortably view the cherry blossoms and explore the park! Stick to these paved paths to avoid hurting or damaging the homes of the creatures around you.
  • Plan for a litter-free experience when you visit High Park. If you do bring lunches, snacks or anything else with you to the park, remember to pack everything with you including your litter. Though the City tries its very best to keep litter bins empty, a sudden increase in the number of visitors could overwhelm the bins. Take your litter back with you and dispose it at home. 
  • Use a cherry blossom filter on your phone when you take your photos. Like any other living creature, trees are also sensitive. So when leaves or branches are pulled or broken it does hurt and damage them. To avoid this, use a filter. 
  • Use your indoor voice. We understand this might sound unusual, however, it is nesting and breeding season for many animals in the park. To make sure they are not disturbed, do not talk too loudly. 
  • Note that you are a visitor. Some of the animals here at High Park live year round and you’re visiting their home. 
  • Please do not approach or feed the animals. 

Plan the day with your friends and family to watch the beautiful bloom of these trees. To make it more fun, you can also try to predict the bloom of the trees with us through our guide

However, if you can’t come this year follow our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and keep up with blossom development in High Park. You can also support the Nature Centre this season by making a donation. Remember to be respectful of nature and the people around you. Keeping these tips in mind, you can make vehicle-free cherry blossoms fun and memorable!



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