Although their display is short-lived, it is worth the time to visit York University’s Keele campus to view some 250 Sakura Cherry trees, which will move into full bloom in the next few days.
The Japanese flowering cherry tree, or Sakura, is a revered symbol of Japan. Its blossoming marks the arrival of spring and is celebrated in Waka and Haiku poetry and with annual Hanami, or flower viewing picnics under the full blossom of the Sakura.
The delicate trees were planted as part of the Japanese government’s Sakura project, symbolizing the long-standing close relationship between Japan and Canada and York’s many cultural and academic ties with Japanese institutions. In 2003, York University was the first university in Canada to participate in the Sakura Project, which had a goal of planting 3,000 trees in Ontario by 2005. More than a decade later, the trees planted on the Keele campus continue to thrive.
One of the best displays is situated beside Calumet College. Trees are also located in pockets around the Keele campus, including a group outside of the Tait McKenzie Centre.
In 2016, the unseasonably warm weather and cold spring killed many of the blossoms. This year promises a return of the magnificent display but it won’t be around for long.