Pack a blanket and your best camera because the popular o-hanami picnic is coming back to the Montreal Botanical Garden this year. The event will once again see picnic-goers gather under blossoming crabapple trees in the Japanese Garden. Though not exactly cherry trees, the hardier crabapple creates "an effect that is just as peaceful and romantic," Espace pour la vie wrote in the event description last year.

"During the Heian period in Japan (794-1185)," according to the Foundation of the Japanese Garden and Pavilion of Montreal, "aristocrats organized celebrations under the flowering cherry trees."

"This led to the tradition of o-hanami: contemplating (mi) the blossoms (hana). The custom spread over the centuries, becoming popular with people from all walks of life."

The one-day event at the Botanical Garden brings this custom to Montreal.

Last year, the Foundation website indicates, festivities included the sounds of Japanese drums, a martial arts demonstration, as well as traditional dance.

The 2020 picnic is not yet marked on the Garden website, but a spokesperson tells MTL Blog that it will take place on May 17.

Just like last year, participants will each get a bento box of traditional Japanese fare to enjoy.

Only those who reserve their box online will be able to attend the picnic. In 2019, the boxes cost $26.

Further details are still under wraps. Stay tuned to the Espace pour la vie website and Facebook page for forthcoming information.

This won't be the only flowery event to return to the city in May, either.

Montrealers should be sure not to miss the return of the Hochelaga Flower Market at Place Simon-Valois between May 16 and 18.

Get all the details on the flower market here and the o-hanami picnic below.

Japanese Spring Picnic At The Montreal Botanical Garden

Where: Japanese Garden at the Montreal Botanical Garden

When: May 17, 2020

Cost: TBA; last year boxed lunches were $26

Why You Have To Go: To experience a traditional Japanese springtime celebration and enjoy apple blossoms in a city unfortunately devoid of cherry trees.


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