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For a few days each spring, an arguably ironic thing happens in High Park. Hemmed in by winter for months, what feels like Toronto’s entire population spills into the park, eager to breathe air that doesn’t freeze the lungs—and, presumably, to feel a little closer to nature. But the result isn’t exactly the long exhale of spring that many expect.Instead, it’s as if the city comes to a halting critical mass in High Park’s 161 hectares of space, stopping to smell the flowers in numbers that can rival Yonge-Dundas Square. The day seems anything but pastoral or bucolic.Traffic—cars, bikes, longboards, scooters—snarl the park’s entrances, with the intersection at High Park and Bloor nearly blocked by the density of arriving vehicles alone. Along West Road, the lawns and shaded groves near the Forest School fill quickly, as crowds of camera-wielding residents turn what was all but abandoned only two weeks ago into a festival scene. Even at the sweltering height of summer, High Park isn’t as overwhelmingly, blissfully popular as it is for this brief, fleeting sliver of spring. (

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