From left: Toronto City Councillor Sarah Doucette (Parkdale-High Park); Toronto Mayor John Tory;
Consul-General of Japan Takako Ito; City Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon (Beaches-East York).
On the morning of May 8, the City of Toronto held a media availability on the Sakura trees in High Park which were about to fully bloom. Remarks were provided by His Worship Mayor John Tory of Toronto, along with Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette, City Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, who chairs Toronto’s Parks and Environment Committee, and Consul-General of Japan Takako Ito, who attended wearing a Sakura-coloured pink kimono.
Mayor Tory explained that the Sakura had its start in High Park with a gift of trees in 1959 presented by the Japanese Ambassador to Canada to the City of Toronto on behalf of the people of Tokyo. He added that there were further plantings by the Sakura Project, and that Sakura today symbolizes the friendship between Japan and Canada. He also cited fruitful economic relations between Toronto and Japan and Toronto’s sister-city relationship with Sagamihara as examples of the goodwill between the city and Japan. He expressed his delight that many generations of Torontonians are able to enjoy the beautiful blossoms, and extended his heartfelt appreciation.
Consul-General Ito explained that the Sakura, in addition to symbolizing the arrival of spring, have held special meaning in Japanese culture since ancient times. She added that the gift of Sakura from Tokyo was an expression of appreciation for the people of Toronto who supported the Japanese Canadians who moved here after the World War II. She was pleased that these and other Sakura trees, which were donated by people who wanted to strengthen Japan-Canada relations, are now being enjoyed by countless people. She said this was especially significant this year, which marks the 90th anniversary of Japan-Canada diplomatic relations and 30th anniversary of the redress for the Japanese Canadians who were interned during the war.
Mayor Tory explains Sakura’s ties with Japan.
Consul-General Ito speaks on Toronto’s Sakura and the friendship between Japan and Canada.
City Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon included Japanese phrases in her remarks.
Remarks by City Councillor Doucette whose ward includes High Park.
The media availability underneath a Sakura tree.