Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Cherry Blossoms at Kariya Park
Mississauga, Ontario has a sister-city relationship with Kariya, Japan. Mississauga has a Japanese-style park called Kariya Park dedicated to its friendship with Kariya. Since moving to Mississauga, this was our first time visiting the park. Spring is the perfect time of year to visit as the cherry blossoms are all in bloom in beautiful shades of light pink and white.
Kariya Park is a very peaceful place in the middle of bustling city life. The park has a traditional Japanese garden with a pond, trees, shrubbery, rocks, and flowers. You are able to walk over a bridge and wander around a few different paths. It is a quiet and tranquil park where people can spend time with their loved ones, relax and read a book, or simply enjoy the serene surroundings.
There is a central pavilion with a large bell that symbolizes the friendship between the two cities. The bell was donated by Kariya to Mississauga. The inscription reads: "By welcoming the new century this bell is produced as a symbol of everlasting friendship between the City of Mississauga and the City of Kariya. It is our sincere prayer that the toll of this bell will spread peace and happiness over the world of our society. July 7, 2001."
The pavilion overlooks the pond where you can find Canadian geese and ducks swimming around.
There is a festival held each year in Kariya called Mando Festival. From the Kariya, Japan website:
"At present, people living in the seven wards of the city gather for this festival to pray and give thanks for the continued safety of the town and for protection from disasters. During the soul-stirring festival, young men dance powerfully to the music of flutes and drums while holding giant lanterns which are called "mando" (literally "ten thousand lanterns"). This festival is held on the first Saturday and Sunday of every August."
This large portrait is displayed in Kariya Park so people can learn about the cultural significance of Mando Festival and its importance to Kariya City. The picture is actually comprised of thousands of tiny photographs of people from Mississauga and Kariya meeting and celebrating their friendship.
Kariya Park is a beautiful place that I hope to visit many times in the future. It is very refreshing to visit a beautiful park so close to home in the middle of the busy city centre. I wish that our neighbourhood (and every neighbourhood!) had a beautiful Japanese park, but I am certainly glad that we have Kariya Park in our city!
Kariya Park is open to the public seven days a week, 7:00 am to 9:00 pm, through the entrance on Kariya Drive, just off Burnhamthorpe Road east of the Mississauga Civic Centre. It is located South of Square One shopping centre.