On April 16, 1977, cherry trees were planted in Oppenheimer Park (The Powell Grounds) to celebrate 100 years since the first official Japanese immigrant landed on the shores of Canada. The Japanese Canadian Centennial Tree-planting ceremony was a project led by the Tonari-Gumi seniors’ organization, funded by a Centennial lottery and individual donations from the community. Nikkei seniors planted 8 trees that joined 13 other trees planted by the Parks Board. Soon after, 3 more trees were planted by surviving WWI veterans Mr. Kiyoji Iizuka and Mr. Ryoichi Kobayashi.
In 2008, the Legacy Sakura were in danger of being removed due to a park redevelopment plan. A Coalition to Save the Legacy Sakura of Oppenheimer Park was formed and put forward a petition with 1,800 signatures to try and save the trees. This led to the Parks Board revising the plan, saving 7 of the 10 trees. Thanks to the efforts of the community, their blossoms can be enjoyed every Spring!
- “Coalition to Save the Legacy Sakura of Oppenheimer Park Averts Complete Destruction of Vancouver Heritage Cherry Trees: Coalition Deeply Disappointed in City of Vancouver Decision to Remove Three Trees.” Marketwire, July 25, 2008.
- Yamashiro, Takeo. “History.” Save the Legacy Sakura of Oppenheimer Park, March 25, 2008.