Each May, the Canadian Tulip Festival arrives in Ottawa as a 10-day celebration honoring the tulip.
The tulip, Ottawa’s official flower, is symbolic because these flowers were given as a gift to Canada from the Dutch Royal Family after Canada provided safety during the German occupation of the Netherlands. The world’s largest tulip festival celebrates spring, history and friendship, and is a truly extraordinary sight.
Local organizers, artists, performers and volunteers come together for this beautiful cultural event. The National Capital Commission (NCC) designs and plants this unparalleled display of almost 300,000 tulips in 60 different varieties. The event takes place at Commissioners Park on the banks of Dow’s Lake.
Photo Credit: Paul Shannon, via Wikimedia Commons, cc
The History of the Canadian Tulip Festival:
In May 1953, the Canadian Tulip Festival was established to pay homage to the role that Canada had in the liberation of the Dutch during World War II. After the Nazi invasion, in May 1940, Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch Royal Family were exhaled to the United Kingdom. Soon after, Princess Juliana brought her daughters by ship to Canada where they lived at Stornoway (now the official residency of the Leader of the Opposition). Three years later, Princess Juliana gave birth to her daughter Princess Margriet, and the Dutch flag was raised above the Ottawa Peace Tower. In 1945, Queen Wilhelmina, Princess Juliana and her daughters were reunited in the Netherlands. As a gift of gratitude for their stay in Canada, and for the role of the Canadian soldiers in the Netherlands liberation, Princess Juliana gave Canada 100,000 tulip bulbs (amongst other gifts). After Princess Juliana became queen, and until the end of her reign in 1980, she continued to send tulip bulbs to Canada each year, to be planted at the birthplace of her daughter Margriet.
If you’d like to visit Ottawa and see the beautiful Canadian Tulip Festival, you can click here for more information.
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