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The Canadian Tulip Festival

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Ottawa hosts the Canadian Tulip Festival, a major cultural event held annually in May.

In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa as thanks for having housed their princess Juliana and her daughters during the WWII Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. During her exile, in 1943, Princess Juliana gave birth to Princess Margriet at the Ottawa Civic hospital. The maternity ward was officially declared to be a temporary part of the Netherlands, so that the birth could be claimed to have been on Dutch territory. In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year.

In 1953, the display of tulips was formalised into the "Canadian Tulip Festival". Queen Juliana returned to celebrate the festival in 1967, and Princess Margriet returned in 1995 to participate in the festival on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Holland.

Although tulips are displayed throughout the city, the most prominent display is at Dow's Lake, at the foot of the Rideau Canal.

In addition to the tulip displays, the festival hosts music concerts as well as painting and craft exhibits. The 1972 festival saw Liberace give an opening concert, and at the 1987 festival, singer Alanis Morissette made her first appearance at the age of 12. In 2006, over three million tulips created an exotic mosaic of colour and beauty throughout the national capital region. The festival featured more than 20 Official Tulip and Attraction/Partner Sites along a 15km Tulip Route through Ottawa and Gatineau.

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Photos of the Canadian Tulip Festival. Click on thumbnail to see full sized photo.

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Patti

This page was updated on 26 November 2007.

Contact me at: patti.primeau@sympatico.ca

This site was edited using Nvu and Style Master.

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