Sakura Illumination took place in Stanley Park, at the Japanese Memorial, on the evening of April 1 2016. This activity  presented by HFour Design – one of the highlights of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival – was attended by over 3,000 people.

I arrived at the Japanese Memorial around 7.30pm and there was already close to 1,000 people on the site.

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People were sitting on blankets, waiting for the sun to come down and the lanterns to turn on.

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Around 8.00 p.m., the generators kicked in and the lanterns were lit.  The excitement was palpable in the audience.

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Waiting for the night to fall, I visited the Japanese memorial where the Ojichin was beautifully lit.

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Around 9pm, it was night time. Two dozens lanterns were hanging in the Shirotae cherry trees. Some were on low branches so you could have your picture taken with them. There were also Japanese umbrellas with flashing led lights.

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The fully bloomed Shirotae cherry trees were lit up with different colour lights with spotlights. And there was a live projection of moving images on the tree canopy accompanied by music.  It was a beautiful evening.

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Walking back on the seawall, I enjoyed this amazing view of Vancouver skyline.

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A few minutes after I had taken this photo,  hundreds of cyclists – dressed in costumes, their bikes adorned with lights – passed on seawall chanting: “Vancouver Bike Train!” The line of cyclists went on for at least 20 minutes and was quite entertaining to watch.

This fun cycling event reminded me of our upcoming Bike the Blossoms event with Velopalooza on April 9. Join the fun!

Photos: Jessica Tremblay