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Spring Blossoms in Ontario

Spring - A lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be. But without winter, we wouldn't appreciate the beauty of spring. It's the nature's way of reminding us year after year, that however hard and bitter the winter is, there is always spring - there is always hope!!!

Naturally, after witnessing daily minus temperatures, wilted trees and a white blanket of snow all around, people look up to the onset of spring, to witness the nature transforming itself in to a whole new self. Spring in Ontario starts around late March and lasts until late June. But Ontario's weather is often tricky and experiences cold weather and heavy rains amidst the pleasant sunny and warmers days during Spring. But this is also the season, to spend time out in the nature and take part in Easter celebrations, Maple fest, witness various flower festivals, enjoy canoeing, grab fresh produce at Farmer's Market and many more such activities.

Spring is also the time for trees to blossom. I have seen innumerable pictures of the delicate pink and white flowers lit up the gardens and Ontario is known to have some awesome spots to cherish these beautiful blooms of cherry trees in particular. Typically we can expect to see cherry trees in their full bloom between late April to early May. And this may vary slightly due to the weather. If we have a warm spring, then we may expect them early otherwise it may get delayed if the spring had been particularly cold. Also the bloom doesn't last longer. It lasts just for a week or too, again depending on the weather. In case of a rain spell, consider they are all gone. 

High Park in Toronto is considered an iconic place to see cherry blossom in Ontario, as it is one of the largest concentrations of cherry trees. Naturally, the place gets flocked by people and becomes impossible to get a parking spot for your vehicle. If you wish to go here, remember to take public transportation instead, to avoid the parking hassle. Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton-Burlington, Centennial Park in Oakville, Kariya Park in Mississauga, Bay Front Park in Hamilton, Botanical Garden in Niagara etc. are the other best places where one can find cherry blossoms.

This year, we couldn't make it to Hipark due to heavy and consistent rains that lasted for more than 2 weeks. So we planned to visit Arboretum, which is part of the Royal Botanical Gardens, the first sunny weekend after the rains. Coincidentally, it is the day of King of England, Charles III coronation. As part of the celebrations, Ontario declared to conduct many special events, along with providing free entry to public to 10 major cultural attractions and 39 provincial parks in Ontario. So we decided to be part of one of the major celebrations of Ontario. 

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada, a National Historic Site and Canada's plant biodiversity hot spot. Spanning across Hamilton and Burlington, it displays closes to 42 living collections in its five major garden exhibition areas - RBG Centre, Arboretum, Hendrie Park, Lake Garden and Rock Garden. They encompass 2400 acres of nature sanctuaries, 300 acres of cultivated gardens which is home to more than 50 at-risk species, thousands of migratory birds, more than 2 lakhs individual plants and 27 km of walking trails. 

Generally, entry to all these five gardens is time-ticketed. Admission to each of Rock Garden, Laking Garden and Arboretum costs $10 (adults). In case you want a full garden admission which gives access to all the five gardens, we have to pay $19.50 (adults). Kids between 0 - 3 years get a free entry everywhere. Parking is available at all the gardens and are again timed. You get free parking at RBG centre, Rock Garden and Hendrie Park and have to pay for a spot at Arboretum and Laking Garden. Also note, entry is restricted to Lake Garden and Arboretum from May 5 to Sept 14 and May 5 to June 1 respectively. So plan your trip accordingly. You can visit RBG's website to know more details.

Since May 6th was a special event, RBG was expecting a huge crowd of close to 10000 people which is three times more than its usual peak admission of 3000 per day. So RBG advised the public to park their vehicles in a nearby Go train station (Albershot). From there RBG ran free shuttles to its RBG Centre. There were additional shuttle buses enabling public to visit other gardens from RBG centre. 



It was a beautiful experience being amidst the nature and witnessing a large gathering. Hendrie Park has a huge rose garden, which is quite famous for its collection. But it wasn't its bloom period. There were some gardening workshops for kids, special coronation crown designed with flowers, music concerts and a lot more. We got a chance to see some gorgeous cherry, magnolia, tulip and lilac blooms. What a sight it was? No words or pictures could do justice in explaining/ capturing their beauty. You have to see them through your eyes and cherish them in your heart!!  

All the nature lovers should witness those spectacular pinks and whites of the trees and the festive atmosphere all around, at least once. I bet, you can't stop with once!!

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