2016 CELEBRATION OF SPRING: CHERRY BLOSSOMS
Delicate shades of pink fill this pure silver coin to breathtaking effect. The springtime blossom of the cherry tree is an ancient symbol in Japanese culture that has long been celebrated in poetry and art—and continues to inspire cross-cultural festivals to this day. Vancouver’s famous Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, while farther east, the cherry trees that bloom in Toronto’s High Park stand as living symbols of friendship between Canada and Japan.
Did you know?
Cherry trees belong to the Prunus genus of shrubs and trees, which includes almonds, peaches, plums and apricots; they all fall within the Rosaceae family, which includes roses, apples and pears.
Many of the trees that produce these famous blossoms are bred more for their flowers than their fruit.
The leaves and the blossoms are considered to be edible but in small quantities only, since they contain coumarin, which can be toxic in high doses.
Just like their blooms, ornamental cherry trees can have a relatively short lifespan—many of these cultivars live an average of only 20 years.
The Yoshino cherry tree is the most popular cherry tree in Japan and produces white flowers of five petals in early April. In North America, the Kwanzan cherry tree is more popular, with flowers of multiple dark pink petals that emerge roughly two weeks after the Yoshino variety.
In Vancouver, 500 cherry trees were gifted by the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama in the early 1930s, with 300 more donated in 1958 by the Japanese consul; by 1990, nearly 36% of the trees on the city’s streets were plum and cherry trees.
In 1959, 2,000 Yoshino trees were gifted to the citizens of Toronto on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo, Japan.
DESIGN: Designed by Canadian artist Jan Poynter, your coin captures the soul-stirring splendour of a blooming Kwanzan cherry tree, as can be seen in many parks and neighbourhoods throughout Canada in the spring. Finely detailed engraving recreates the delicate appearance of the iconic five-petal blossoms, both on the tree and the flower-laden bough in the foreground.
PACKAGING: Your coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell with a graphic beauty box.