Mar 26, 2020

By Gavin Day

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A warmer winter combined with plenty of rain means High Park  could get an early start to cherry blossom season.

But the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means few people would or should be on hand to enjoy the annual splash of colour. Given the lure of the annual event that draws massive crowds annually, the city of Toronto isn’t opposed to shutting the park before people even think of showing up.

“If people understand how the crowd scene arises each year for the cherry blossoms, I think they will be able to read the tea leaves and see that we’re going to have to do something in anticipation of that,” said Mayor John Tory at the city’s daily COVID-19 briefing.

“I will take whatever action is recommended to me by the medical officer of health. But I will say right now–if we have to make arrangements to create the cherry blossom channel so that we can see if on television but not go there, I would not hesitate to take the recommendation to close the park for access to the vehicles and say this year, we can’t have large crowds to see the cherry blossoms.”

On Wednesday, the city announced they were closing facilities like playgrounds and off-leash dog areas in city parks to the public. It was to further drive home the importance of social distancing during the current pandemic.


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