The cherry blossoms – an annual rite of spring – have begun to bloom outside the University of Toronto's Robarts Library.
Every year, the grove outside Robarts has provided a peaceful spot to take a photo with the pink blossoms – a quieter option than the crowds at High Park's Cherry Blossom Festival.
The university received 70 Japanese cherry trees known as sakura as part of the Sakura Project, an initiative of the Consulate General of Japan in Toronto, and the trees have been blossoming each year since 2005. There are another 50 sakura trees at U of T Scarborough as well.
On Friday, faculty, students, visitors and passersby at the downtown Toronto campus took a few seconds out of their lunch break to snap a photo to share on Instagram and Facebook.
Leon Cheng, 25, who is an international student from Hong Kong working on his PhD, came out with the brief burst of sunshine to take some photos.
“It is very beautiful,” he said. “It signifies the arrival of spring at U of T.”
Marina Falkovich, 36, was just taking a walk during her lunch break when she saw the blossoming trees and took out her smartphone.
“I noticed them and thought, 'Who needs High Park? Who needs the craziness,'” she said.
This year visitors will not get to enjoy the entire cherry blossom grove – part of it is behind fencing in a tree protection zone for the Robarts Common extension construction. But in springs to come, students will be able to study under the cherry blossoms in a new outdoor plaza (see rendering below).
A rendering of what the plaza might look like under the cherry blossoms (rendering courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects)