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For our friends around the world:

by Diana Alandete

This past week at the end of April, I was delighted to see the transformation of the naked brown branches of the trees around the city. The little twigs of green buds started to open up converting into green leaves. This is the beginning of the Spring season in Canada.

I was driving around the city and I was stopping everywhere admiring this amazing transformation and taking pictures.  This is a remarkable phenomenon for me, as we do not have seasons in Colombia South America.  We do not get to see these marked changes in nature, and how the warmer temperatures and longer sunny days transforms the naked dry looking trees, and brings them out of their dormant state.

Spring season began in Canada on March 21st, and runs until June 20th, however, this year the temperatures have been colder and windier longer time, delaying the blooming and blossoming of flowers, trees and grass.  The temperature has been slowly getting warmer, but finally starting this weekend on May 4, we will have warmer temperatures, and we will get to see the gorgeous displays of blossoms everywhere.

Crocuses, Hyacinths, Daffodils, and Tulips are the first flowers that we see in the spring.

This past week, vibrant yellow daffodils were blossoming in gardens throughout the city.  Daffodils are my favorite Spring flowers!

Stunning Cherry Blossoms will be at their full peak between May 7th to May 12th, and lasts only one week.  Peak bloom means when approximately 70% of the Cherry blossoms have opened on the trees. There will be gorgeous displays in several parks, such as Kariya Park in Mississauga, where I took the above pictures of Pink Cherry Blossoms last Saturday on May 4th.  Kariya Park has approximately 59 cherry trees.  High Park in Toronto has one of the biggest displays of Sakura Cherry blossom trees.

Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, Centennial Park in Etobicoke has around 200 Cherry Blossom trees, Woodbine Park in Toronto, Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, are some other places to admire so much beauty.

As a little bit of background information about the history of the “Sakura project,” I learned that on April 1, 1959, Japanese ambassador to Canada, Toru-Hagiwara, presented 2000 Japanese Sakura Cherry Trees on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo Japan as a gift to the citizens of Toronto, for their support of Japanese-Canadian refugees after the Second World War.

The city of Toronto together with the Consulate General of Japan, created the “Sakura Project” which has continued planting additional Sakura Cherry Blossom Trees in High Park and through the city, in the spirit of continued friendship between Toronto and the people of Japan.  If you want to read more about the history of the “Sakura Project,” check out the following website, where I learned about this history – www.sakurainhighpark.com

As wonderful as this phenomenon is, when the blooms emerge, and the grass seeds blow, they release clouds of pollen. In addition, the Birch pollen season, coincides this year with the grass pollen season in mid-May due to the delay of the warmer weather, which affects people who suffer allergies, resulting in symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, and sniffles. Here is what you need to know about springtime allergies in Canada.

Spring brings lots of rain as well.  There is a well-known saying, “Spring Showers brings May Flowers,” and I may add, that it brings some floods as well in some areas located close to lakes and rivers, with combined frequent rains and the snow and ice melting.

Japanese Sakura trees are not the only trees blooming in spring in Canada.  The orchards of apple, apricot, plum and pear bloom beautifully in spring, and so many other trees as well.

Ottawa holds the stunning annual Tulip Festival for 11 days, from May 10 to May 20, 2019.  The history of the Tulip Festival says that in 1945, the Dutch Crown gifted 100,000 tulip bulbs to the city of Ottawa, to show gratitude to Canada for sheltering the Royal family during the Second World War, and as a symbol of international friendship and peace. The Netherlands sends 20,000 bulbs every year for display at the tulip festival.   The Festival preserves the memorable role of the Canadian troops in the liberation of the Netherlands and Europe.  See more  Canadian Tulip Festival.

Spring is here with all its splendour!  Go out, enjoy the trees in full blossom, and allow yourself to be embraced by the fascinating magic!