I know, I know. It’s going to be fall in a few days; the season of pumpkins and leaves that are changing color, not the season of tulips. Originally I thought about pushing this post back for awhile, but the pictures are too pretty not to share and I also thought that people might be starting to plan–or will be soon–their 2018 travels, and if that’s the case, I have a suggestion for you: the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa.
The tulip festival is the reason I went back to Ottawa, so soon after visiting the first time. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I wanted to go back with my mom to see the tulips, and so that she could visit this city that totally captured my heart. We also wanted to get there before Parliament Hill closed for renovations, so May 2017 was our year.
The Canadian Tulip Festival is the biggest tulip festival in the world and the story behind it dates back to WWII. The Dutch royal family fled to Canada after the Nazi’s invaded the Netherlands and, while there, Princess Juliana became pregnant. In order for her child to be a Dutch citizen, the baby needed to be born on Dutch soil, so the hospital room she delivered her daughter in was temporarily named Dutch soil. After Canada helped liberate the Netherlands, Princess Juliana returned home, and sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada as a thank you. She continued to send tulips every year, and eventually the tulip festival was formed as a way to commemorate the special relationship between Canada and the Netherlands. The Canadian Tulips Festival runs for about two weeks every year and millions of tulips bloom throughout the city.
My birthday fell on Mother’s Day this year, so my mom and I timed our visit for Mother’s Day weekend, which was right at the start of the tulip festival. Since we were there at the beginning, there were patches of tulips that hadn’t bloomed yet, but what we were able to see was absolutely beautiful. It was so much fun to see this gorgeous city adorned with tulips.
The tour guide for one of our Haunted Walks of Ottawa chatted with us about the tulips before our walk began and she said that they had a special red and white tulip this year in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, but the white looked a bit yellow to her. I think these were the white and red tulips she was talking about. Even though they were a tinge yellow, she said they’re still special.
Have you visited Ottawa during the Canadian Tulip Festival? What tulip festivals have you been to?
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