Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ottawa's Tulip Festival

Spring is my favorite season here in Ottawa. I went to the Tulip festival and it reminded me of how beautiful and green this city is. For those of you that are not familiar with the festival, here is a little bit of history:
The Canadian Tulip Festival has grown into the largest Tulip Festival in the world from a gift of International Friendship given six decades ago. In the fall of 1945, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs. The gift was given in appreciation of the safe haven that members of Holland's exiled royal family received during the Second World War in Ottawa and in recognition of the role which Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands.

The tulips have become an important symbol of international friendship and the beauty of spring. They also have special meaning to people of Canada's Capital Region. During the war, the Dutch royal family was hosted at Government House in Ottawa. Princess Margriet was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital; her hospital room declared "Dutch soil" and the flag of the Netherlands flew on Parliament's Peace Tower.

The first Canadian Tulip Festival was held in 1953. The Ottawa Board of Trade, at the suggestion of world-renowned photographer Malak Karsh whose photographs have immortalized the tulip, formalized the Canadian Tulip Festival to coincide with the tulip's annual bloom. In the next 10 years the Festival grew in size, with a staggering display of over two million flowers. Each spring over 600,000 people from all over North America, Europe and Asia make over a million visits to the Canadian Tulip Festival. Studies show it has a $50 million economic impact annually on the Ottawa region. The event, which grew from the Dutch gift of friendship, has become the world's largest Tulip Festival and Ottawa, with its Official Flower – the Tulip, has become the Tulip Capital of the North America. Isn't that something Eh ! :-)

More pics to come soon....


Melanie Ester said...

I LOVE tulips and I can't help but take pictures of them everywhere I go! I took quite a few at the Montreal Botanical Gardens this past June. They were starting to die off but they were still beautiful as ever. I found your blog on the Daring Kitchen blogroll. I'm a baker and my blog isn't as established as yours but please feel free to visit:

Carter Lenhart said...

Flowers of diverse colors sitting beside each other are a sight to behold. And the violet ones, they just bring this blissful feeling. I could tell because the pics capture the life of the tulip festival. Now that's the product of friendship between Canada and The Netherlands.