One of Canada’s most renowned festivals kicks off this weekend in Ottawa! The Canadian Tulip Festival is celebrating its 60th year, of bringing the joy of tulips to the citizens of Canada, with a multitude of events taking place around the city. The prime attractions are the stunning tulip beds to be found at over 40 different locations across the city including Parliament Hill, Commissioner’s Park and Major Hill Park, but tulips abound even away from the green spaces, especially on Elgin Street which is endeavouring to earn the nickname “boulevard of blooms.”
The festival plans to bring music to the city as well as tulips. The Capital Sounds event, running from May 11th to 21st, will feature musical acts playing in the streets and restaurants of Little Italy, Chinatown and Byward Market. Two Ottawa area musical groups, Fevers and Mastik, will perform at a free concert on the 12th, at the Tulipiazza. Additionally, the Embrace the Night event will fill Byward Market with music during the opening party on the 4th and the finale on the 18th.
With music and tulips, the festival is already jam packed with excitement, but there are still more events including a Mad Hatter Tea Party on Mother’s Day, a tulip treasure hunt, an international pavilion, a tulip photography contest, and various tulip-themed events put on by local businesses.
The origins of the Canadian Tulip Festival date back to 1945, when The Netherlands gave Canada a gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs in gratitude for providing shelter to the Dutch Royal Family during World War Two, and the Canadian involvement in the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi Germany. The bulbs were planted in the national capital and soon became a popular tourist attraction. The first tulip festival was held in 1953 at the suggestion of world-famous photographer Malak Karsh, and has been a staple of the Ottawa festival calendar ever since.
Want to get involved? The Canadian Tulip Festival is looking for volunteers to work as Mission Ambassadors and Boutique Representatives. This is also a great opportunity for youth to get involved in our ChangeTheWorld Youth Challenge, by helping out in their community.