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.
Photos of the Canadian Tulip Festival. Click on
thumbnail to see full sized photo.
Follow these links to the rest of my pages about Ottawa and
the National Capital Region.