There is a very colourful history behind Canada’s biggest flower festival. In the capital city of Ottawa, tulip bulbs are planted in the fall and bloom in the spring, lasting three weeks in May every year. In Ottawa tulips have a much larger meaning, symbolizing the country’s bond with the Netherlands after the Second World War.
The festival had its start in 1945 when the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs in appreciation for the safe haven offered to exiled Dutch royalty and the role Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands. In the years following 1945, the tulips became a symbol of international friendship, and Ottawa soon became famous for its brightly coloured tulips.
Every year the Netherlands sends Canada thousands of tulips in commemoration of Canada’s assistance and protection during World War II, expanding the thriving and bountiful displays throughout the city. The largest display is in Commissioners Park on Dow’s Lake, where up to 300,000 tulips bloom every spring.
This year marked the special 70th commemoration of the Liberation and the Tulip Legacy. These tulips have helped define Ottawa over the last 7 decades and have helped it grow as a world renowned capital city.