I was recently biking down a street in East Van, in a little residential area where neighbours seemingly try to outdo each other when it comes to their landscaping passions, when I noticed all those tender buds on the trees, the pink promises of future cherry blossom overload and just the general acuteness of an impeding spring. It was here, rolling down East 14th Avenue that I conceived of an obvious idea of “biking the blossoms”.
Vancouver urban planners admittedly did mess up a few things but they got this one right: every single residential street in the city is lined with trees and there’s plenty of greenery everywhere. Special status among those belongs to the cherry trees, all 2,789 of them (as of 2019), who even enjoy a dedicated event to celebrate their petals: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.
And I must give it to them, walking underneath a canopy of pink flowers while delicate petals shower on you is a pretty darn beautiful thing. And the time is now, my friends, to go out and experience the wonder!
For best results you want to hit a street that has not one, or two cherry trees, you need to seek out the hot spots where these trees cluster. Luckily, the cherry blossoms festival website has all the information (“Blooming Now“) you could possibly need to find the prized locations and they are more than happy to share it with all of us.
Naturally, with all the publicity the best places, such as Queen Elizabeth, are a bit of an Instagram gongshow, however, some equally beautiful trees in other parts of town I had completely to myself. Cannot stress this enough – make the “Blooming Now” to be your guide in finding the trees in their prime while staying away from the crowds.
Consulting this resource I designed a cycling route for myself to check out the touted as well as up and coming areas in my hood and further afield, combining as much cherry blossoms with pleasant riding as I could cram into a 2 hour outing. The route is all on quiet residential streets or completely separated bike lanes and can be done with kids in tow.
Below is the map of my route with my top 3 spots being (at the time of writing):
- 22nd Avenue east of Windsor,
- Queen Elizabeth Park, west of Bloedel Conservatory,
- 63rd Avenue, between Cambie and Willow.
But for the absolutely most stunning cherry blossom location in the entire town, one which is yet to bloom in the next couple of weeks, you have to scroll down :o)
The best spot in town to have cherry blossom rained on you is on East 10th Avenue, between Fraser and Clark, in its prime during the second half of April.