Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Kicks Off April 2 with the Big Picnic at David Lam Park
The large outdoor events mark the return of the Festival celebrating Vancouver’s 43,000 cherry trees.
After two years of COVID-imposed restrictions, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) is back with a wide array of programming, a new more accessible Mobile Maps, a new collaboration with local First Nations, and the return of its signature events, The Big Picnic with Cherry Jam at David Lam Park (April 2) and Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Botanical Garden (April 9-10).
“A big reason for Vancouver’s global reputation as a beautiful city especially in springtime are the images of city parks and streets lined with cherry trees in peak bloom,” said Linda Poole, Founder and Artistic Creative Director, VCBF. “We’re thrilled to welcome back some of our signature events that bring people together in celebration and appreciation of the fleeting beauty of the cherry blossom that brightens the lives of everyone who sees them.
We’re also delighted this year to infuse our Festival with West Coast Indigenous culture and the works of visual artists from the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh nations as well as representatives from each nation in our special opening ceremony on April 2nd.” Consul General Hatori will acknowledgment Japan’s gift of sakura to the First Peoples of the Land and acknowledge this event takes place in the Unceded Territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations
The Big Picnic launch event takes place from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at David Lam Park in Yaletown. It’s Vancouver’s largest outdoor picnic, held under the blossoms of 100 Akebono cherry trees donated by the Honorable Dr David Lam in 2010. This free family event will feature: an outdoor yoga class; a tree dedication ceremony; a Kagami-biraki sake keg-breaking ceremony; a haiku installation celebrating the 2021 Haiku Invitational winning poems by Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh nation visual artists; interactive arts activities; and the popular Cherry Jam Concert featuring a superb line-up of local talent.
Bring your own lunch, treat yourself to delicious meals from local food trucks, or savour a Blossom Bento from Private Sushi Chefs (Pre-order yours for pick-up at the picnic). The Big Picnic is presented by TD Bank in partnership with the Yaletown BIA.
On April 9 and 10, the Sakura Days Japan Fair will return to the VanDusen Botanical Garden for a two-day celebration of all things Japan. From Japanese food, taiko drumming and theatre performances, to woodworking demonstrations, tea ceremonies, hands-on workshops (origami, calligraphy) and cultural performances, Sakura Days offers a wide range of family-friendly activities set among the cherry blossoms in one of the world’s most beautiful municipal gardens. Tickets are on sale now. Sakura Days Japan Fair is presented in cooperation with the Japan Fair Association of Vancouver.
Across the Lower Mainland, cherry trees are blossoming in every shade of pink and white, bringing joy to residents and visitors of all ages and announcing in spectacular fashion that spring has finally arrived. To find all those beautiful trees, VCBF has launched Mobile Maps, an online tool showing where all the trees are blossoming. Visit the VBCF.ca homepage on any device and zoom in and see, street by street, what type of cherry tree grows where, photos of them and the dates when they’re in peak bloom. Supported by Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation.
VCBF invites everyone inspired by the cherry blossoms and the Festival’s pink and teal banners lining the Burrard Street Bridge and Oak Street to submit a haiku to its internationally acclaimed Haiku Invitational poetry contest, presented by Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel. Each year, the Festival receives thousands of entries from 40+ countries around the world from budding poets competing in six categories: Best Vancouver, Best BC, Best Canada, Best United States, Best International and Best Youth haiku, with additional haiku recognized in the Sakura Award and Honourable Mentions categories.
EVENTS April 1-23, 2022
APRIL 1 – STEPS FOR SAKURA
Lot 19, 855 West Hastings, Vancouver
12 pm – 1 pm
Steps for Sakura is a new program that introduces everyone to our new mobile-friendly Neighbourhood Maps, Mobile Maps, which will now act as your personal Cherry Compass! This pop-up event gets us all outdoors, to move, and connect with nature in a way that benefits our bodies and our minds! Presented by the DVBIA.
APRIL 2 – THE BIG PICNIC featuring the Cherry Jam Concert
David Lam Park in Yaletown
10 am – 4:30 pm
The 2022 Festival kicks off with The Big Picnic at Yaletown’s spectacular David Lam Park, home to 100 Akebono cherry trees! The full day of free family activities will include: a tree dedication ceremony; a Haiku Installation by Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh nation artists; interactive arts activities; and the Cherry Jam Concert featuring a superb line-up of local talent. It’s Vancouver’s largest outdoor picnic. Bring your own lunch, treat yourself to delicious meals from one of our food trucks, or enjoy a Blossom Bento from one of our Sushi Chefs (Reservations required for Blossom Bento.) Presented by TD Bank in partnership with the Yaletown BIA.
APRIL 9 & 10 – SAKURA DAYS JAPAN FAIR
VanDusen Botanical Garden
10 am – 5 pm
Sakura Days Japan Fair is a two-day celebrates all things Japan. From Japanese food, taiko drumming and theatre performances, to woodworking demonstrations, tea ceremonies, hands-on workshops (origami, calligraphy) and cultural performances, Sakura Days offers a wide range of family-friendly activities set among the cherry blossoms in one of the worlds most beautiful municipal gardens. Tickets on sale now. Presented in cooperation with the Japan Fair Association of Vancouver.
APRIL 19 – “DISCOVER HAIKU” ONLINE WORKSHOP
Join Michael Dylan Welch, the founder of National Haiku Writing Month and cofounder of the American Haiku Archives, on an exploration of haiku poetry.
Online international poetry contest invites established and budding poets to submit up to two unpublished haiku, which are judged in six categories: Best Vancouver, Best BC, Best Canada, Best United States, Best International and Best Youth haiku. Presented by Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel. Attracts thousands of entries from 40+ countries around the world each year. (March 2 – June 1). To submit a haiku, visit the Festival haiku submission page.
TREE TALKS AND WALKS
Guided walks to discover historical, horticultural, and cultural features of the cherry tree and other extraordinary trees. Free, but registration is required via the website.
April 2 2 pm – 3:30 pm At The Big Picnic w/ Egan Davis, Manager of Parks, White Rock
April 8 2 pm – 4 pm At Stanley Park with author Nina Shoroplova
April 9 & 10 Times TBD At Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Botanical Garden
April 17 1:30 pm- 3:30 pm At West End Community Centre with Wendy Cutler
April 23 11 am – 12:30 pm At UBC Botanical Garden with Douglas Justice
About The 2022 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (April 1–23):
Presented by Coromandel Properties, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is a charitable not‐for‐profit organization with the objective to educate and actively engage diverse communities through accessible local arts and culture to celebrate the fragile beauty of the cherry blossom. To sustain and renew Vancouver’s cherry tree heritage. Cherry blossom viewing has become a joyful Festival springtime tradition in our city now as people marvel as 54 different varieties blossom across our city. For more information, visit: www.vcbf.ca, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.