Akebono skyline at 5th and Lillooet

Don’t hesitate to go cherry blossom viewing, even on a cloudy day, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that cherry blossoms won’t wait. When it’s time for the petals to fall, you want to be there. Rain or shine, it will still be spectacular.

There are two rows of akebono cherry trees at 5th avenue and Lillooet. A bonus feature is that you get the highrises of Burnaby’s Brentwood area in the background.

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This location is very close to 6th and Slocan where you’ll find akebono forming an archway over the street, so you should visit both.

Visit the Festival Neighbourhood maps to see what’s blooming in your area.

Happy cherry blossom viewing!



Akebono petals at 6th and Slocan (Renfrew Area)

It’s that time of the year when Akebono petals fall softly on the streets of Vancouver. Lots of photographers will visit one of the Festival’s favorite locations, such as 6th and Slocan where Akebono cherry trees form an archway over the street.

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Visit the Festival neighbourhood map to find our favorite cherry blossom viewing locations (listed in red on the map).

You might also like to visit: Graveley street, Georgia street, Manitoba street.

Happy cherry blossom viewing!

Cherry Jam Photos Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Jam Downtown Concert

The 12th annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival kicked off today with a noon-hour concert at the Burrard skytrain station in Vancouver.


Tetsu Taiko started the show, accompanied by Alcvin Ramos. The performance was amazing, very high in energy.


The performance was followed by an original collaboration of Chinese er-hu player Ji Rong Huang with a tap dancer.


The Cherry Jam concert host read the 2017 Haiku Invitational winning poems including:

the gasp
before the sigh . . .
cherry blossoms

Terri L. French
Huntsville, Alabama

VCBF Haiku Invitational 2017 Winner (United States)


Kathryn Nicholson lead the Sound Eclectic Vocal Ensemble. The choir performed “Cherry Blossoms For You & Me!” a new song inspired by a haiku by poet laureate Oz Hershfield created especially for the Vancouver Sings One Song event. I’m sure we’ll have the chance to hear it again during the festival and sing it together.


At the end of the concert, VCBF Director Linda Poole invited people to check the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website for more information about the many activities (big picnic, tree talks and walks, Sakura illuminations, etc.) and wished everybody a good festival.


It was a quite a rainy day in Vancouver.  Luckily, the exhibitors tables were in a covered area.

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Due to the rain, it was pretty quiet under the canopy.  Where you would usually find dozens of photographers and a crowd of people admiring cherry blossoms, there were only a few people hanging under the cherry trees.

Burrar skytrain station blossoms

The reason there were so few people under the canopy was clear when you got closer. Turns out half the pathway was flooded. The petals were floating in four inches of water!

Burrard canopy Burrard floating blossoms

For those who were not afraid to brave the rain today, the blossoms were there.

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The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival will take place from April 3-29, 2018. Check for information about the festival activities. Happy Cherry Blossom Viewing!

Burrar skytrain station blossoms


Downtown Akebono Blossoms Looking Great

Easter Week-end is always a great time to go cherry blossom viewing in Vancouver. The Akebono cherry trees are in bloom and looking spectacular.

My favorite location is Georgia and Denman which has a beautiful reflective pool:

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At the entrance of Stanley Park, at Alberni, young akebono will allow you to take close-ups:

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Instead of entering Stanley Park (cherry trees in that location always need a few more days to bloom), I opted to wander in the West-End where you can encounter Akebono in bloom at various street corners, such as here in Nelson and Broughton:

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There are lots of buds in the Downtown trees, which means you still have time to visit. They should be in full bloom within 2-3 days.

Attend one of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s Tree Talks and Walks to learn more about cherry trees.

Cherry Jam Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Jam opening concert at Burrard Skytrain

It was a gorgeous sunny day for the opening of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival at the Burrard skytrain station today.

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The Akebono cherry buds were about to open, and there were some blossoms at the top of the trees.

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First stop: the Cocktails and Canape booth where you could pick up a Blossom Bliss picnic, along with cherry blossom shake, and popcorn dessert.


After browsing the vendors’ table, it was time to pick a spot: the show was about to start.

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First, Sinfonia Orchestra took the stage for an amazing concert. A choir accompanied them on stage, and then some flash-mob singers, dispersed throughout the crowd, joined their voice for a rendition of Sakura! Sakura! I’m really glad they played it twice because that was a pretty cool to hear all the voices joining the choir from everywhere in the station.


Then, we were delighted by the sound of Son De Maple, a Vancouver based band with a latin sound and the most amazing percussionist I’ve ever seen (never thought someone could play a tambourine like this).

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The Cherry Jam concert ended with the Uzume Taiko drumming group. They were accompanied  by members of the South Asian Arts group who made us dance to the sound of Bollywood music.

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Linda Poole, the festival director, closed the festivities and wished everybody a happy spring and a great Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.


The Akebono cherry trees, which are be 2-3 weeks behind the normal blooming season, are just about to open everywhere in the city, so go visit soon!

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Leaving the station, I saw a woman taking pictures of the smaller tree planted in front of the station and realized this was probably my best chance for me to get a close-up  of the blossoms. The tree is in the sunlight. It was perfect.

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If you didn’t pick up a VCBF schedule at the festival tent, you’ll find it in this this week’s Georgia Straight. Visit our website for a complete list of activities and updates.


Cherry Scouts Photos Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Stanley Park Tree Talk and walk

It was a gorgeous day for our Stanley Park Tree Talk and Walk.

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About 35 people attended the tour lead by Bill Stephen (Park Board Superintendent of Urban Forestry) for a history of the park and a closer look at the cherry trees.

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Akebono cherry petals were falling: at the slightest breeze, we were showered with petals. It was magical.

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The Akebono blossoms (nearing the end of season) were totally white, luminescent.

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Cherry Scout Wendy Cutler was wearing her blossom shoes for the occasion.


Between the rose garden and the pavilion, we stopped to see a small Takasago (hidden by other trees) on a trail.

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Along the way, Bill talked about other types of trees in Stanley Park like the sycamores and Douglas firs.


The white Shirotae leading to the Japanese memorial were in full bloom.

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At the Japanese memorial, we concluded our walk with the Ojochin cherry tree (also in full bloom). You could see copper leaves coming out.

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Cherry petals are falling fast in Stanley Park (that’s why we had to reschedule the walk for today so people would get a chance to see the blossoms). Visit within the next 2 days to be showered with petals.


Check out our webpage for regular updates on the upcoming tree talk and walks.




Akebono peak at Manitoba street (between 39th and 43rd Av.)

After my visit to Queen Elizabeth Park, I headed for Manitoba street (corner of 39th) to see two rows of Akebono cherry trees that extend up to 43rd street.

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The trees are small, but if you get the right angle, you can still get good photos.

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Since the trees are small, you can get really good close-ups:


When I reached 41st Ave., I turned to face north and was thrilled to see the peak of the North Shore Mountains at the end of the street between rows of cherry blossoms. (There are electric wires in the way, but it’s still a nice photo op).

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Use the VCBF neighbourhood map to find this location and other Akebono cherry trees in your area.

Photos: Jessica Tremblay


Queen Elizabeth Park Akebono cherry trees in bloom

Right after work, I went to Queen Elizabeth Park to see the Akebono cherry trees. It was around 5pm. There was about 25 people taking photographs.

The trees near the parking lot look amazing.

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The branches are full of blossoms.

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There’s a park bench so you can sit and have your picture taken next to the the huge trees.


Queen Elizabeth Park is a wonderful location for a picnic. There’s also a lot of photographers (wedding, fashion) and videographers (someone was filming a tai-chi video when I was there), so be prepared to share the space with a crowd.

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Past the Akebono, you’ll also find a beautiful Somei-yoshino cherry tree:

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This location is definitely worth a visit. If you walk towards the restaurant, on top of the small quarry, you can take an amazing photo of the Vancouver downown skyline.


Visit Queen Elizabeth Park within the next 7-10 days. For a guided tour, attend our Queen E Tree Talk and Walk on April 3 (date subject to change, so please visit our website for updates).


Photos: Jessica Tremblay


Spectacular rows of Akebono on Graveley street

On a sunny Thursday morning, around 11 a.m., I reached Graveley street (corner of Lillooet) to view cherry blossoms.  The location is spectacular with two rows of old Akebono cherry trees forming an arch over the street.

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The area was bustling with activities: there were about 50 people taking pictures. And more cars kept arriving.

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The view from the bottom of the street is also very nice.

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From the sidewalk,  you can snap photos of the Burnaby skyline and SFU hill.

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The street is spectacular and immediately became one of my favorite locations. The blossoms were in full bloom when I visited. This location will be wonderful when petals start to fall in a couple of days.


Visit this location within 7 days. Prepare to share the space with many photographers. When you’re there, remember the neighbours:

1) do not climb the trees
2) do not break the branches
3) be respectful of the residents who live on the street
4) do not stop in the middle of the street
5) keep your visit to a max of 15mins (cause really, how long does it take to snap a few photos?)
6) stay on city property, do not go on private property
7) try to stay off the grass, especially if you are wearing heels.
Mostly – be respectful to the environment and the residents. Remember that it is the residents who are responsible for caring for those trees.

To find out more about this location and where you can find Akebono cherry trees, see the VCBF neighbourhood map.




Akebono cherry trees outside Mink Chocolates cafe

This plaza located at the end of Hornby street (between Hastings and Cordova) is on my favorite locations to view Akebono cherry trees Downtown.

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If you didn’t bring your picnic, you can stop at Mink Chocolates Cafe (or one of the other eateries) to have tea or coffee while you look at the flowers outside.

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It’s close to the waterfront, so you can take pictures of the blossoms with some historic Downtown buildings.

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The Akebono cherry trees are in full bloom downtown and in the West-End. Join our Cherry Tree Talk and Walk  this Saturday March 12 2016  1.30-3.30pm with Wendy Culter.

Photos: Jessica Tremblay