トロントのハイパークで 満開の桜を愛でるには?

SakuraPre_01

日本では桜の開花がニュースで報じられる季節になりました。開花まではまだまだ時間がかかりますが、トロントでも毎年、ダウンタウンの西にある市民公園「ハイパーク(High Park)」で、日本から寄贈されたソメイヨシノを見に多くの市民が訪れます。
この公園が一般市民に開放されたのは、1876年。公園の歴史は、トロント初の建築家、イギリス人John George Howard氏が所有していた土地をトロント市に寄贈したことから始まります。

SakuraPre_13

彼は1836年に初めてトロントを測量した人物として知られていて、住居は「コルボーン・ロッジ(Colborne Lodge=写真上)」という名前で現在も公園の南側に保存され、一般に公開されています。彼の立派なお墓もロッジの向かい側にひっそりとたたずんでいます。

SakuraPre_00

公園へのアクセスは地下鉄High Park駅下車徒歩数分。ブローア・ストリートには大きな入り口が見えます。中に入ると、右側に公園があり、左奥には公営のテニスコートがあります。道なりに歩いて行くと、左側は大きな公園になっていて、その一番奥が第一の桜鑑賞ポイント。ゆったりとしたスロープを下り終わり右側のさらに下るスロープが、有名なトロントの桜並木です。

SakuraPre_04

桜が咲く時期になるとこの桜並木を「Trackless Train」と呼ばれる乗り物で眺めることもできます(有料)。スロープを降りきった所にあるのが「Grenadier Pond」。残念ながらボートで乗り入れることはできませんが、岸から野鳥や水鳥の様子を眺める事ができます。沼に沿って歩くと大きなカエデのマークを型取った公園があり、ここにも新たに植えられた若木の桜が咲きます。
詳細は下記のウエブサイトをご覧下さい。
http://www.highparknaturecentre.com/high-park-cherry-blossom-watch/map/

多くの人が集まる桜並木に植えられたソメイヨシノは1960年に東京都が寄贈したも。第二次世界大戦中に捕虜となり、戦後に困難を極めたビクトリアに住む日本人がカナダを西から東へと住む場所を探しながら旅をし、トロント市民が温かく受け入れてくれたことへの感謝を表す象徴として、100本の桜がハイパークに植樹されたものです。今でも桜並木のちょうど中間ほどのところに、今でもこの桜の由来を示す記念碑が静かに置かれており、そこには当時の様子が短く伝えられています。

SakuraPre_07

“THIS JAPANESE CHERRY TREE(SOMEIYOSHINO PRUMUS YEDONENSIS MATSUM)
ONE OF 2000, PRESENTED TO THE CITIZENS OF TORONTO
BY THE CITIZENS OF METROPOLITAN TOKYO
HIS EXCELLENCY TORU HAGIWARA,
JAPANESE AMBASSADOR TO CANADA
and
HIS WORSHIP, NATHAN PHILLIPS Q.C.,
MAYOR OF THE CITY OF TORONTO
ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1st, 1959”

もう一つ、ハイパーク内の子供用プレイグラウンドそばには、別な寄贈者による碑が置かれていて、ここもきれいな桜が咲きます。

SakuraPre_08

THE JAPANESE CHERRY TREES PALNTED IN THIS GROVE
ARE A SPECIAL GIFT TO THE PEOPLE OF TORONTO
FROM
YORIKI AND MIDORI IWASAKI
THE CHERRY TREE IS A JOYFUL SYMBOL OF LIFE
THE CITY OF TORONTO GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES
THIS GIFT AND THE SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY
AND FRIENDSHIP IN WHICH IT WAS GIVES
OCTOBER 1984

トロントに住む日本人の手によって桜の植樹が行われたために、私たちは毎年美しい桜を愛でることができるわけですが、現在でも、在トロント日本国総領事が委員長を務める「桜プロジェクト」としてトロントをはじめ近郊地区への桜の植樹が続いています。この6月には、東洋英和女学院の創立者であるカナダの婦人宣教師ミス・カートメル師の働きを記念する<桜プロジェクト>が計画され、植樹式にあたり日本からの使節団の派遣、トロントのお隣のハミルトン市での記念式典などの行事が予定されています。

SakuraPre_09

SAKURA
A Japanese Flowering Cherry Tree
One of 34 Prunus xyedoensis ‘Akebono’ and Prunus ‘Fugenzo’ varietes
presented to the
City of Toronto
by the
Sakura Committee
on behalf of the
MANY GENEROUS DONORS
to the
SAKURA PROJECT
as a symbol of
friendship and good will
between
JAPAN AND CANADA
was planted by
Sakura Committee Chair HARA Satoshi
Consul General of Japan in Toronto
and
His Worship Mel LASTMAN
Mayor of the City of Toronto
Wednesday, April 18, 2001

これは、Hillside Gardensに置かれた領事館の桜プロジェクトで植樹された桜を記念するプレートと文字。34本の曙と普賢象が寄贈されました。
詳細は:http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/press/staff/hokubei/h_48.html

実はこの桜、日本人だけでなく地元コミュニティーにとっても春の訪れを感じさせる大きな出来事として、「トロントの桜はいつ咲くのか?」と毎年大きな話題になり、専門のウエブサイトやFacebookなどが桜の咲く時期をレポートしています。

http://www.highparktoronto.com/cherry-trees.php
http://www.sakurainhighpark.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SakuraCherryBlossomsHighPark
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/high-park-cherry-trees-in-full-bloom-1.1409975

SakuraPre_12

トロントで桜が咲き始めるのは、例年ですと5月初旬。あっという間に満開になりますので、上記ウエブサイトなどで情報を確認されると良いでしょう。ちなみに今日(3月18日)、写真のように、まだまだつぼみは固いままです。

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