Hanami :: 花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing)

Ann-Lee and Gordon Switzer are local sakura tree historians/experts and Ann-Lee has prepared a guide (see below) to viewing sakura trees in Victoria. We are in her debt.

Succession of Bloom: Cherry Blossom Tour in Victoria

Cherry (Sakura) Blossom

Compiled by Ann-Lee Switzer,
edited by Craig Mercer

Google Maps: Succession of Bloom: Cherry Blossom Tour in Victoria, B.C., Canada (Work in Progress)

The blooming time of ume and sakura varies from year to year, sometimes by two weeks. Also blooming times  overlap, and windy weather can shorten the beauty. If the winter has been cold and extends into late February, wait a little while! This list is not exhaustive; There are other trees but these are the main ones.


Autumn Flowering Sakura (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’)
There are four Autumn Flowering Sakura (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) on the sidewalk in front of the Crystal Gardens on Douglas street between Belleville and Burdett.

This small deciduous flowering tree originates in Japan, but is unknown in the wild. It is probably of hybrid origin between Prunus incisa and Prunus spachiana. It is widely grown for its propensity to flower during mild winter weather which makes it perfect for a city like Victoria.

Wada (Prunus wadai, Prunus pseudocerasus x Prunus subhirtella)
There are five Wada (Prunus wadai, Prunus pseudocerasus x Prunus subhirtella) Sakura trees (three on the law court side and 2 on the opposite side) on Blanshard St. between Burdett Ave. and Courtney St.


EARLY SEASON (late February to March) PLUMS

Lindsay Plum (Prunus cerasifera Lindsayiae)
There are lots of Lindsay (Ume) Plum (Prunus cerasifera Lindsayiae) on View St (the most spectacular between Blanshard & Cook). Very earliest of the blossom trees. Comes out anywhere from late Jan-early Feb. to mid Feb. or even March some years.

Pissard Plum (Prunus cerasifera atropurpurea)
Plum – pale pink small blossoms Clarence St. in James Bay is best example.

Nigra Plum (Prunus pissardi nigra)
Plum – dark purple-leaf, darker pink blossoms

Where can you view them?
Both Pissard and Nigra are very common on the city streets and private gardens. In James Bay: Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, Niagara, Croft and many others.


MID-SEASON (late March to April)

BEACON HILL PARK has many, many beautiful sakura and plum trees at this time: go enjoy!

Yoshino Cherry (Prunus × yedoensis)
Yoshino are the classic sakura, single, pale pink, and very prolific.

Where can you view them?
Most famous is South Turner Street in James Bay, but common throughout the city. Moss Street and Trutch Street have many old examples as does Heywood Avenue that borders Beacon Hill Park on the east side.

Other Yoshinos of note:

  • Quadra Street in front of YMCA (between Broughton and Courtney)
  • Begbie Street (east of Pandora), old trees and old homes
  • Pandora Avenue between Vancouver and Cook; Meares Street
  • The entire length of Moss Street (also later Kanzans)
  • The foot of Thurlow Road by Ross Bay Cemetery
  • Cambridge Street off Dallas Road
  • Vining Street off Chambers Street (west of Victoria High School) also old trees with old houses
  • Fairfield Road – Harbinger Avenue, Trutch Street, Collinson Street and Rupert Terrace.
  • Off Vancouver Street by Beacon Hill Park: Oliphant Avenue, Pendergast Street and Southgate Street.
  • James Bay neighbourhood has many examples of sakura and plums, with the highest concentration of heritage houses, it makes great viewing.
  • By the Victoria Clipper ferry terminal at the foot of Belleville Street are some rare old weeping sakura plus Yoshino in a nice grassy area just asking for a picnic!

Other Sakura: The darker pink ones can be Accolade (Prunus subhirtella ‘Accolade’), Atsumori or Double Pink Higan (Prunus subhirtella ‘Atsumori’) on Belleville Street, by the totem pole on the causeway side, pink (Prunus subhirtella ‘Whitcombi’) and 6 beauties (across Douglas) also on Belleville opposite the Crystal Gardens/Canadian Pacific Lawn Bowling Club. There are many other varieties too numerous to mention, singles or doubles, all beautiful!


LATE SEASON (mid-April)

Kanzan Cherry (Prunus serrulata)
‘Kwanzan, Sekiyama, Kansan’ – Flowers pink, double; young leaves bronze-coloured at first, becoming green.

Kanzan Cherry
Where can you view them?
Menzes Street & Moss Street among others. These are the deep pink fully double “popcorn” type that scatter “pink snow” far and wide.

Mt. Fuji Cherry (Prunus serrulata)
‘Shirotae’ – Very low, broad crown with nearly horizontal branching; flowers pure white, semi-double.

Mt. Fuji Cherry
Where can you viem them?
In front of Hotel Grand Pacific

Wild Cherry (Prunus avium grandiflora)
Double-white or Gean – These big tall spreading trees have an unusual twisty kind of trunk. Fat clusters of white “popcorn” hang on long skinny branchlets. Few leaves spoil the view.

Wild Cherry
Where can you view them?
Opposite MacDonald Park, James bay, in front of the school in full bloom.

Ukon (Prunus serrulata)
Large semi-double  clear to sulphur. Buds are slightly rosy, then when open greenish-white with pink edges; leaves orangy-green. Unusual!

Where can you viem them?
Oliphant Avenue, Vancouver Street to Cook Street

Amanogawa (Prunus serrulata)
Upright-growing, very-branchy, pale but bright pink double blossoms.

Where can you view them?
Quadra Village and other locations around city, they all seem to have been planted the same time.



White Goddess (Prunus serrulata)
Shirofugen’ – Flowers double, deep pink at first, fading to pale pink. Possibly the latest blooming sakura ever!

Where can you viem them?
Irving Park in James Bay. 21 trees of were planted in 2002 by a group of visitors from Gifu, Japan. A plaque tells about it. Not in bloom till May, pinky-white doubles, bronzy leaves.



For more information on Hanami visit Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanami

In the past, the VNCS has organized a spring potluck lunch and cherry blossom (Sakura) viewing get together. There are many streets in Victoria where different types of cherry blossoms can be seen from early to late spring.

2010 VNCS Hanami Potluck
Kanzan Blossoms (2010 VNCS Hanami Potluck)


2010 VNCS Hanami Potluck
Yoshino Blossoms (2010 VNCS Hanami Potluck)