High Park open for spring, people discouraged from visiting for cherry blossoms: Tory

By Dilshad Burman

Toronto Mayor John Tory says High Park will remain open throughout spring this year, even through the much anticipated bloom of the cherry blossoms.

However, Tory says while the park will be open for neighbourhood residents requiring exercise and fresh air — people can walk, run or bike through the park — they are asked not to flock there to see the cherry blossoms.

“The best way to see the cherry blossoms as was the case last year, again this year will be from your own home…on the blossom camera — they city’s most popular live stream,” said Tory.

RELATED LINK: Future live stream of the High Park cherry blossoms

He said 200,000 people tuned in to the blossom camera last year and people can watch them “24/7 if they want during the peak bloom.”

“We want people to enjoy the blossoms virtually and safely and we still want people to enjoy the park,” he said.

To that end, the city has developed “blossom health protection arrangements” which includes installing fencing around the three largest collections of cherry trees in the park.

City staff will also be on site to “continuously monitor” the area and ensure that crowds do not develop while people still enjoy the rest of the park.

“We will restrict access to only limited areas of the park,” said Tory.

Last year, the park was entirely closed as city officials determined it would not be possible to ensure physical distancing with a partial closure.

Fencing was also installed around the trees last year, but two trespassers got through and one was caught climbing a tree on the blossom cameras.

One of them was found and given three tickets totaling $1,150 for entering into an area of a park posted to prohibit admission, walking where prohibited in a park and using a park between 12:01 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. without a permit.

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