Every spring, Ontario gets a little bit more pink with the bloom of Japanese cherry blossoms across the province. Urban dwellers often flock to popular spots like Toronto’s High Park or Mississauga’s Kariya Park to view the flowers, but one park in the west end is particularly worth visiting for its unique arrangement of cherry blossoms.
Spencer Smith Park in Burlington is home to short but spectacular cherry blossom trail right by the city’s waterfront. The cherry blossoms usually bloom around April and May as the weather starts to warm. The sakura trees were donated by Burlington’s twin city Itabashi in Japan, in honour of their close friendship:
“The blooming of the beautiful cherry trees in Spencer Smith Park each spring is symbolic of the close friendship between the cities of Burlington and Itabashi, Japan,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “This friendship deepens year after year through student and cultural exchanges, lasting personal connections and professional networking.”
The cherry blossom trail features over 50 sakura trees along a gorgeous limestone pathway. When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the canopies sometimes get so thick it feels like you’re walking through a tunnel of cherry blossoms. Ako Matsubayashi, one of the organizers of Burlington’s annual cherry blossom festival, says that as the petals start to fall, it’s like walking “in snowfall.”
On the other side of the city from Spencer Smith Park, there’s an entire road called Itabashi Way that’s also lined with donated sakura trees.
Burlington and Itabashi signed a twinning agreement back in 1989 and have since carried out several exchanges and programs that have prospered over the years. Burlington’s cherry blossoms are an ode to the working relationship it has with Itabashi and even holds sakura festivals yearly in celebration of it.