Every spring, Vancouverites thrill to the signs that winter is coming to a close: flowers bloom at the Top 5 Vancouver Gardens and Vancouver's 40,000 cherry trees blossom in a sea of pink and white.
Vancouver celebrates spring and its cherry trees with the city-wide, month-long Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF). This year, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 21 - April 17, 2016.
Steadily growing since its inception, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival comprises a wide array of events, most of which are free.
Top Events at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2016
- Do-it-Yourself Blossom Tours - March 21 - April 17, 2016 - FREE
Everyone can enjoy touring Vancouver's cherry blossoms for free, using VCFB's Blooming Now and Cherry Viewing Map to plan a bike trip or walking/driving tour.
- Sakura Days Japan Fair - April 9 - 10, 2016
One of the best and most popular VCBF events happens at Vancouver's gorgeous VanDusen Botanical Garden: the annual Sakura Days Japan Fair. This two-day festival-within-a-festival celebrates Japanese cultural arts, performances and traditions with an authentic Japanese tea ceremony, festival food, ikebana (flower arranging), premium sake tastings, guided "tree talks and walks," Haiku Invitational readings, Japanese classical dance, taiko drumming, the Cherry Blossom Dance, martial arts performances, and more.
- Haiku Invitational - Submissions open through June 1, 2016 - FREE
One of the most unique and beloved VCBF traditions is its Haiku Invitational, where anyone can submit up to two haikus about their love of cherry blossoms. Winning haikus are published in Haiku Canada, Rice Paper, Ripples, and on the VCBF website!
- 10th Anniversary Blossom Barge - April 16 - 17, 2016 - FREE
In honour of VCBF's 10th anniversary, you can watch the Blossom Barge--40 cherry trees in full bloom pulled by a tug--make its way around False Creek. View points include Canada Place, Stanley Park, English Bay, Granville Island to Science World, with designated Viewing Stations at Canada Place and English Bay Inukshuk. You can also enjoy the moored barge at Granville Island, where there will be free music concerts and performances.
History of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is a non-profit festival created in 2005 by Vancouverite Linda Poole. Growing up in Vancouver, Ms. Poole always loved the city's spring cherry trees; when she learned about the age-old Sakura Festivals in Japan and that many of Vancouver's cherry trees originated as gifts from Japan, creating the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival seemed like the "perfect way to express our gratitude for this generous gift and to celebrate the beauty and joy [the cherry trees] bring to everyone."