Flower power! Torontonians can once again visit High Park to smell the cherry blossoms. But there’s a catch…

After two seasons of being deprived of enjoying the beautiful cherry blossoms at Toronto's High Park, the fencing is no more and residents are at last free to relax in the green space.

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Those visiting Toronto’s beloved High Park are partying as though it’s 2019 these days given that Hogtown’s head honcho, Mayor John Tory, is no longer walling off the park a la post-World War II East Berlin as was the case the past two springs. You see, His Worship didn’t want people gathering in the park during COVID-19 to smell the cherry blossoms, which beautifully bloom for about a two-week period. That would surely be a super-spreader event.

So it was that in 2020 and 2021, not only was the park fenced off, but it was also guarded and patrolled by members of the Toronto Police Service. What a brilliant use of law enforcement resources!

But not to worry: Torontonians hungry for the cherry blossom experience could go online and watch pre-recorded video of the cherry blossom trees. Just one hitch: since the city did not have the resources for Smell-O-Vision, the experience of looking at the cherry blossoms but not inhaling the fragrant scent of the blossoms left much to be desired.

Yet, as a sign that things are finally getting back to normal – and that 2022 is indeed a municipal election year – Mayor Tory decided not to erect fencing around the park for the current cherry blossom season. In fact, in the Department of Leopard Changing Its Spots, Tory took to social media and actually encouraged citizens to visit the park. Wow!

But there’s a catch, alas. While the war on the cherry blossoms is over after a two-year campaign, Tory sneakily enacted his ongoing war on the car in High Park. Which is to say, motorized vehicles are now verboten from entering the park as John Tory yet again reaches out to Toronto’s bicycle brigade, which seems to be the demographic running transportation policy in Hogtown these days. At least somewhere in Sweden Greta Thunberg is smiling.

Oh well, to paraphrase that old chestnut: Mayor Tory giveth. And Mayor Tory taketh away…

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