Tagged in: Nature & Parks

DAY# 112 of 365- EARTH DAY and the Magical Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park!

Happy EARTH DAY!

Today I had planned to do something else for ‘Earth Day’, but a dear friend invited me to see the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park, instead. I like to go with the flow and I don’t really have a set plan everyday during this 365 day journey (and my plans over the past 3 months have often changed the last minute), so I decided at the last minute to go with her and be one with nature. I don’t do this enough, and the weather is getting much warmer and everything is in bloom and coming back to life now that spring is here. So today was the day. Getting out and enjoying nature is one of my favourite things to do.

After seeing the movie ‘Avatar’ yesterday and loving the message of the movie which to me was to ‘appreciate, protect and respect the beauty of nature’, I am reminded to get OUT of my tiny downtown apartment and enjoy nature. And a lot of people are not aware that, Toronto is over 18% PARKLAND, so there is a lot of beautiful nature to enjoy in the big city!

Today marks the 1st weekly series on Toronto 365 of “NATURE IN THE CITY” and I thought going to see the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park, (that were a gift to Toronto from Tokyo many years ago) would be a fitting beginning of this series.

It was my first time seeing the Japanese Cherry Blossoms, even though I was born and raised in Toronto. Its one of those things that I always said I was going to do one day.

What a beautiful expression of nature. It was like we were transported to Japan.

People were walking, talking, singing, taking pictures, eating and EVERYONE was happy and smiling walking through this natural wonderland. When the soft pink petals fell it was like huge pink snow flakes were falling on my head. Living in Toronto for 30-something years, I cant believe this is the 1st time I have witnessed this hidden gem.

Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park, in Toronto, Canada

Here is an article about the history, and some interesting information about the Japanese Cherry Blossoms and how they arrived in Toronto….

Celebrating Japanese cherry blossoms in Toronto

I particularly liked this sentence in the article….

“In Japan, cherry blossoms are called sakura, and the delicate and ephemeral blossoms are said to remind the Japanese that life is short, and already over before we really understand that it has begun.”

As my motto for my 365 Day Vacation or Journey through Toronto says…. “Life is to be ENJOYED and LIVED, get out and have FUN!”

I have been fortunate to have vacationed in over 40 countries and 100’s of cities around the world, and after over 3 months of having a daily mini vacation in my home city of TORONTO, I can honestly say this has been my best vacation ever! I love discovering and rediscovering my city. I am having the most fun, meeting so many positive and friendly people, experiencing and learning something new everyday. I LOVE T.O. :-)

Being that is EARTH DAY, I am not going to get on a soapbox and preach to people how they should recycle more and turn off their lights, etc. because I don’t believe that is the most effective way inspire people to respect and take care of nature.

I may be wrong but I personally believe that showing people the beauty of nature or taking their hand and walking them through one of the many beautiful expressions that nature gives us, (as I captured in these pictures below) I think is much more effective and inspiring.

How could anyone not want to protect, respect and take care of NATURE after seeing and experiencing such beauty?

ENJOY

FREE or ‘Almost Free’ Things to do With the Kids over the March Break.

What are your plans for March Break with the kids…

If you’re staying in Toronto for the break, there’s a lot to do in the city.

Here’s a list of FREE or almost free things to do with the kids….

  • Royal Ontario Museum: March is “Bat” month at the ROM. Specials for March Break include: FREE Bats t-shirts (valued at $17.99) for the first 50 kids through the door every day during the Break (March 13 to 21). FREE bat crowns to every kids on Saturdays and Sundays during Bat Month. Special hours for March Break, extended hours and half-price admission after 4:30 p.m.   **While supplies  last.
  • CBC Museum: Visit the Canadian Broadcasting Centre and learn about how all scenes from CBC’s classic children’s programs, or watch clips from their archives. CBC Museum is located at 250 Front St. W. Telephone: 416-205-5574 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              416-205-5574      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
  • Harbourfront: Bring your skates and head off to the Natrel rink for an afternoon of fun.  If you don’t have skates, you can rent them for the day. Admission is free. Hours are: 10:00 am. to 10:)0  pm.  The Natrel Rink is open until March 22 (weather permitting).
  • Nathan Philips Square: Another popular place to take the kids skating. Skate rentals are available for those who don’t have skates. Admission is free. The rink is open 7 days a week. Hours are: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  • Ontario Place: Cinesphere – March Break Film Festival. Watch movies every day from March 15 to 21 for only $8.  The Princess and the Frog will be showing at 11:00 a.m. and The Twilight Saga: New Moon at 2 pm.
  • Wizard World: Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place. Free Admission for kids on March 14 with Pizza Pizza coupon. $8.50 without a coupon. Lots of activities for the kids. Stage shows, rides, attractions, petting zoo, crafts, entertainment, etc. Hours 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Free lootbags for the kids. For more information, call: 416-585-9263 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              416-585-9263      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. VIA…torontoonthecheap

-Toronto is 18% parkland…get back to NATURE.  Go to one of the MANY great public PARKS like High Park or Trinity Bellwoods park or a park in your neighbourhood.  Its a great way to exercise and play OUTSIDE with the kids. The Allan Gardens Conservatory, is free for children and adults.

-Go to one of the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series. (I love the free concert series! I am so grateful to the donors.). On March 16, Norbert Palej directs an homage to the works of Chopin, performed by the University of Toronto’s music ensemble. Guest artists include Paolo Bellomia and Jimmy Briere.

-Go to the TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY www.torontopubliclibrary.ca with the kids.  You can rent movies and take out books if it is a rainy day. Many libraries have activities for families and events for adults. Check out RAMP the TPLs Youth Publication

-Go to one of the cities COMMUNITY CENTRES  Toronto Parks & Recreation where you can get active, play a game or join one of the many free activities or classes.

-Visit the free zoo at High Park . There are fallow deer, peacocks, bison, emus, yaks, llamas and exotic species such as capybaras and wallabies. Or the Riverdale Farm.This real farm in Cabbagetown parkland has free admission. The kids can see donkeys, pigs, fowl, rabbits, etc. Preschoolers activities include puzzles, books and games in the Meeting House playroom.

-Go to a museum or cultural centre. If you are downtown Fort York, a War of 1812 battleground, or Mackenzie House, the home of our first mayor. Or in the westend, visit Montgomery’s Inn, which is connected to the 1837 Rebellion, or Colborne Lodge, a restored 19th-century house in High Park. The Gibson House Museum and Todmorden Mills in North York, and Scarborough Historical Museum in the eastend.

The Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum. The AGO’s permanent collections are free on Wednesdays between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Plus, high-school students with valid ID get in free between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday. The ROM has free admission on Wednesdays between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The National Film Board of Canada’s Mediatheque offers Green Scenes, a twice-daily, hands-on animation workshop for children aged six to 14. It’s only $5 per child, and you can join in for free.

-Catch a hockey game and see the Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum.  You cant get tickets for as low as $10, in the “Toronto Star Zone” by purchasing them online..

-Go for a walk along the HARBOURFRONT or in the BEACHES have FUN!

-Explore one of the many culturally diverse neighbourhoods for the day like, Greek Town, China Town or Little Italy.

and remember LIFE is meant to be LIVED & ENJOYED, get out, try something NEW & have FUN!

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P.S. Please SHARE any info in the comment section below, on FREE or budget friendly activities you may know about!  THANKS!

Even though I am not a parent, I am babysitting a wonderful 7 year old girl over the March Break Holidays. Wish me luck! HA!

Only kidding I love her to bits and she is the sweetest most intelligent child. She almost makes me want to have one of my own (I said almost, as I love to sleep in :-) …I honour & respect parents because just after 1 weekend of babysitting I am exhausted LOL!  It is a tough but rewarding job.)