Cherry trees on Keele Campus set to bloom

Sakura trees in bloom at York

The sakura cherry trees situated across York University’s Keele Campus are expected to reach peak bloom over the next week, providing an annual – but short-lived – opportunity for the community to take in their natural beauty.

Peak bloom, when 70 per cent of the blossoms on a sakura cherry tree have opened, typically only lasts a short time: four to 10 days. Those looking to enjoy the pink and white blossoms on Keele Campus – one of only a few places in the Greater Toronto Area that has the trees – are encouraged to seek them out soon.

The best display of sakura cherry trees is located adjacent to Calumet College. However, trees are also located in pockets around the campus, along Campus Walk, and there is a small group outside the Tait McKenzie Centre.

Sakura Cherry trees in bloom near Calumet College on the Keele Campus

The trees were planted as part of the Japanese government’s Sakura Project, which symbolizes the long-standing close relationship between Japan and Canada and York University’s many cultural and academic ties with Japanese institutions.

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 blossoms of the sakura.

In 2003, York 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.