As part of the new City of Vancouver plan to redevelop Oppenheimer Park in the downtown eastside (and adjacent to the historic Japantown), “legacy sakura” (cherry blossom trees) are going to be removed to make way for a new field house.
This is not just any tree-clearing program, mind you. The memorial sakura trees were planted back in 1977 by first-generation Japanese Canadians to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Canada’s first-recorded Japanese immigrant. Adding more weight to the proceedings is the long relationship the Nikkei community has had with Oppenheimer Park.
Somewhat ironically, the parks board participated (and sanctioned) the planting three decades go. Today, however, they insist that the sakura trees have outlived their life span.
Hence the rise of the The Coalition for Saving the Legacy Sakura of Oppenheimer Park, which consists of various Japanese Canadian organizations committed to preserving this important part of Vancouver’s heritage.