Cherry blossom madness: How far will you go for the perfect cherry blossom picture?


As Vancouverites are enjoying the sight of cherry blossom trees on the streets — and on their social media timelines — one B.C. woman is documenting the lengths people go in their quest for the perfect cherry blossom photo.

Designer LeLe Chan started the Instagram account, Cherry Blossom Madness, where she posts photos not only of cherry blossoms, but also the people trying to photograph sakura season.

“A lot of just people climbing on fences, sitting on front steps, not minding barriers and gates and just trying whatever they can to get their shots without being respectful to the property or the neighbourhood,” Chan said.

Chan says construction in her neighbourhood has meant this year’s cherry blossom season has been quieter than past years, where she’s seen everything from hip-hop music video productions to photo shoots involving elaborate props and costumes.

One shoot inexplicably involved fitness equipment, she says.

“They pulled up in a van, stopped the van in the middle of the road, unloaded two of these rowing machines, posed and took photos of them in the middle of the street and then put them back in the van,” Chan said. 

The Instagram account, she says, is a way to vent her frustration over the construction work and make light of the situation in her neighbourhood. 

Cherry blossom trees bloom in Vancouver in March 2021. (Gian Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Cherry blossoms’ enduring appeal

Douglas Justice, associate director of horticulture and collections at the UBC Botanical Garden and a scientific adviser for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, says sakura season is off to an average start this year, but things could pick up. 

“I think that we’re going to have a kind of concentrated bloom this year, like a lot of the later cherries will probably be in bloom while some of the earlier cherries are still good,” he said.

Cherry blossoms at David Lam Park in Vancouver on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Douglas Justice, associate director of horticulture and collections at the UBC Botanical Garden, says sakura season is off to an average start this year, but things could pick up. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“I think that’s because all of a sudden it’s starting to warm up and it’s just going to be spectacular come mid-April.”

Justice, who has spent decades studying the trees, says they appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. 

Douglas Justice, who has spent decades studying the trees — pictured here lining a street in Vancouver in March 2021 — says cherry blossoms appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds.  (Gian Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

“Cherry trees, they ask very little of us and they provide really spectacular, beautiful blooms,” he said. “The fact that they’re so abundant in Vancouver, I think people very easily take to them because they’re just so opulent.”

Chan says she admires cherry blossoms from the safety of her home since she suffers from allergies. She understands why people are drawn to them, and urges everyone to be respectful of trees and residents alike. 

“Enjoy them, they’re pretty,” she said.

“These trees are hundreds of years old, so maybe don’t rip down the branches, respect the neighbourhoods that you’re in and keep in mind that people do live there and clean up after yourself.” 

On The Coast4:14Cherry Blossom Madness

Every spring people in Vancouver look forward to the beautiful display of cherry blossoms across the city. But with the bloom comes a lot of people looking to take pictures. We talk to the Lele Chan, the woman behind the Instagram account, “Cherry Blossom Madness.” She’s been documenting passersby taking sometimes outrageous photographs outside her house. 4:14





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