The Tulips of Canada's Capital

Each May in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - the nation's capital city and my hometown - there is the Canadian Tulip Festival, which celebrates Canada's unique relationship with the Netherlands.

In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians having sheltered the future Queen Juliana and her family for the preceding three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War.

A view of the tulips and a statue of Lt. Colonel John By, best known for his supervision of the construction of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. Beyond the statue is the Peace Tower of Canada's parliament buildings.
The tulip festival has been ongoing since 1953 and every year Ottawa receives new bulbs from the Dutch which are planted in huge swaths around the city: along promenades, in city parks, adjacent to the Rideau Canal and in urns and flower boxes around government and public buildings. There are over one million tulips, planted en masse, in various parks and public grounds around Ottawa. The city really does bloom this time of year!
This year, because of the pandemic, there is not really going to be a "festival" (there are often booths with artisans from around the world, musicians, and souvenir kiosks) but citizens who live nearby can still enjoy the scenery, as my husband and I did today. We visited two locations where the tulips are planted in large groupings: Major's Hill Park and Commissioners Park. There are some incredible varieties and there’s a lot to learn here in terms of design. Unfortunately, the National Capital Commission, which maintains these grounds, does not provide information about the specific tulip varieties on display. I hope you enjoy the photos!
 This is Major's Hill Park, directly across the street from the National Gallery of Canada, shown in the background: seas of tulips!
 In the background of this photo is the Chateau Laurier Hotel, which has been closed due to the pandemic since March.
 Tulips have always been traditionally planted in large groupings to best showcase their beauty.

In the background of this photo is Ottawa's Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the oldest in the city.

At Commissioner's Park, where the Rideau Canal meets Dow's Lake, there are more than 350,000 tulips planted.
 There are many unique kinds of tulips on display in this park.
 The colour combinations are spectacular.

This house has always been one of my favourites in the city: it's right on the edge of this beautiful park, overlooking the lake and all these tulips.

Of all the tulips we saw that day, this one was my favourite. It's utterly beautiful.
 This one is almost rose-like.

 Fascinating to peek inside a tulips petals.

Another stunning variety.


Anonymous said...

OH MY Gosh, what a spectacular sight to behold. Thank you for posting such lovely images. I have never been in the presence of thousands of tulips... is there a fragrance that wafts thru the air?? I do enjoy visiting a botanical garden or two. I favor Calloway gardens in Pine Mountain Ga


So glad you enjoyed them! Yes, there was a subtle tulip scent on the breeze. Very soothing. I will have to check out Calloway Gardens!