03/05/2013 12:42 EST | Updated 05/05/2013 05:12 EDT

Festival celebrates 40,000 cherry trees planted throughout Vancouver

VANCOUVER - Guided walks and bike tours are among highlights of Vancouver's annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which celebrates the 40,000 cherry trees planted in parks and along streets throughout the city.

Events take place from April 4 to 30 at various locations. New this year is a fanciful installation created by a team of local architects involving balloons and haikus at Burrard SkyTrain station, said festival executive director Linda Poole.

"There's a block-long canopy of akebono cherry trees at the station," she said. "When you look up all you see are cherry blossoms. It's quite amazing."

As well, the World Umbrella Dance, featuring hundreds of dancers performing at Vancouver Art Gallery, returns for its second year with new choreography by Bollywood dance superstar Shiamak Davar.

A map at the festival website ( shows where to find trees and when they are in bloom.

"Our cherry scouts have identified over 1,000 locations where there are significant displays of cherry trees," said Poole, noting there are about 55 different varieties of the trees in Vancouver.

Each year the festival holds an international haiku-writing competition. This year's winning entry from B.C.: "Alone at the airport / a cherry blossom / on my suitcase."