Tulip Festival 2016
by Shahinur Islam
The Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates international friendship with the 1945 presentation of 100,000 tulip bulbs from Princess Juliana of the Netherlands to Ottawa. The presentation was awarded thanks to the safe haven that members of Holland’s exiled royal family received during the 2nd World War in Ottawa and for the role which Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands.
The festival also marks and welcomes the return of spring, with over a million tulips in 50 varieties blooming in public spaces across Ottawa. The highest volume of tulips can be seen in the flower beds of Commissioners Park, on the banks of Dows Lake, where around 300,000 flowers bloom. The National Capital Commission (NCC) deals with more than 100 tulip beds at 30 different sites.
Although the festival centres on the Commissioner Park, you can witness it at various sites throughout the city.
The Canadian Tulip Festival is the largest of its kind in the world, drawing about 600,000 visitors every year.
The first Canadian Tulip Festival took place in 1953 and was led by the Ottawa Board of Trade, at the suggestion of world famous photographer Malak Karsh. Karsh is regarded as the founder of the Festival and his photographs have immortalized the tulip.
This year the festival time spanned throughout May.