Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, will be celebrating the 62nd edition of the Canadian Tulip Festival which transforms the city into an oasis of colour from the 9th to 19th of May.
The festival is the largest of its kind in the world, celebrating the beginning of spring and international friendship with the Netherlands. Over 1 million tulips in 50 dazzling varieties blossom in public spaces across the capital. The highest concentration of tulips can be seen at Commissioners Park, on the banks of Dow’s Lake and the UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal, where 300,000 tulips flourish in the flower beds.
Steeped in history, this 10-day celebration was established in 1953 after a suggestion by world renowned photographer Malak Karsh. It preserves the heritage of Canada’s role in liberating the Dutch during the Second World War. The tulip is Ottawa’s official flower, stemming from World War II, when the Dutch Royal Family took refuge in Ottawa and Princess Margriet —the younger sister of former Queen Beatrix—was born during their stay. When the war ended and the Royal Family returned to Europe, they presented 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa as appreciation for providing a safe haven for Holland’s exiled royal family members during the war and in recognition of the role which Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands.
Today the festival attracts over 600,000 visitors annually with amazing tulip displays across the city and there is even a ‘Tulip Shuttle’ to transport visitors from display to display. Other highlights include international cultural performances, an international bazaar and Capital Sounds featuring emerging bands from around the city. Additionally there is a Floral Friendship Fireworks extravaganza on selected nights throughout the festival including the opening ceremony which encompasses spectacular displays of floral creations on Dow’s Lake accompanied by music.
For further information on the Canadian Tulip Festival visit: www.tulipfestival.ca
For more information on Ottawa visit: www.ottawatourism.ca