Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival events rescheduled after long winter
Published Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:26PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:44PM PDT
Cherry blossoms are a sign of spring in Vancouver, but this year the flowers are showing up late following an unusually cold winter.
Linda Poole, founder and executive director of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, said several festival events have been rescheduled as a result of the missing blossoms.
"They're in hibernation still, like most of us. But it's starting to feel like we're going to get some action," Poole told CTV News. "They're not stupid. They know it's not quite warm enough yet.”
Matt MacDonald, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said March temperatures across the Lower Mainland have been about five to seven degrees lower than normal.
"This winter was completely different to last winter. Last winter we were dealing with a record strong El Nino,” he said. “This winter was a La Nina, so colder than normal conditions, and it’s taken a while for spring to arrive.”
While the cherry blossoms bloomed three weeks early last year, this year's temperatures means the festival will kick off two weeks later than initially planned.
The world-famous National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. is also scrambling after a late season storm.
Poole said she learned planning techniques from the Washington festival.
"They taught me never to build your whole festival on the blossoms because you can't control Mother Nature, right?" Poole said. “It keeps us on our toes.”
Fortunately, MacDonald said the worst of the cold has passed.
"These double-digit mild conditions are here to stay, right through the end of the month,” he said.
As the mercury rises, so does anticipation for the blossoms.
"It sort of feels like the night before Christmas,” Poole said. “You know something big is going to happen, and you know you're going to get something, but you don't quite know what and when."
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival runs from Mar. 30 to April 23.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Scott Hurst