John Tory Suggests Closing High Park & Launching A 'Cherry Blossom Channel' Instead
A "Cherry Blossom Channel" might be the best we can hope for in 2020.
April is just a few days away and spring has already sprung, even if it doesn't feel like it right about now. For those residents who love to explore the cherry blossom season in Toronto every year, 2020 might hit a little different. Mayor John Tory has suggested High Park is likely to be totally closed in order to avoid the usual crowds in the time of COVID-19. But the city could run a "Cherry Blossom channel" on TV instead, so people can still get that spring feeling.
Tory spoke at a news conference on Wednesday in his first public appearance after two weeks of cautionary self-isolation, after he returned from a trip to the UK earlier this month.
One question he faced was how the city would be handling the spring bloom this year.
Several areas, including High Park, are hugely popular each year as crowds gather to see the flowers in full bloom — in total opposition to the social distancing we're being advised to practice right now.
And Tory admitted that allowing these gatherings is not looking viable this year, so he'll consider making the gorgeous sights available virtually, instead.
"We have had a very preliminary discussion, and we will base it on the advice of the Medical Officer of Health. But if people understand how the crowd scene arises out there each year, I think they will be able to read the tea leaves themselves in saying we're going to have to do something about that in anticipation of that," said Tory during his conference.
"I will say right now that if we have to make arrangements to create the Cherry Blossom Channel so that people can see it on television but not go there, I would not hesitate to accept a recommendation to close the park," the mayor added.
Tory ended by acknowledging that the annual flock to see the blossom is "a pleasant crowd scene — when we're not in a war with a virus."
High Park itself issued a statement letting parkgoers know the area is currently closed and the chance of them being able to get close to the cherry blossoms is slim.
"Sorry folks, you may not be able to check out the cherry trees in full bloom this year — it depends on the closures," reads the statement, in part.
, and in April they showed their true, bright pink colours.
This year, High Park and experts suggest they may bloom earlier due to a wet and mild winter, but it is still too early to tell for sure.
At the moment, anyway,, as the city has closed them to promote social distancing.
High Park in full bloom seems a long, long way off right now.