PEACE, LOVE + FLOWERS
Each May, people from all over the world gather in Ottawa for the nicest and largest tulip festival in the world. Canada's capital attracts over half a million tourists worldwide for this wonderful event and this year, Canada is celebrating its 150 years! It's a two week festival with activities for both kids and adults. Although the flowers are the center of attention, be sure not to miss out on the music concerts, entertainment, workshops and fireworks. The exhibit is quite impressive with a pleasant and well structured display of tulip bulbs. The contrast in colors are spread along the Rideau Canal, the Parliament, Major Hill's Park and practically decorate the entire city. Ride a bike or walk down the beautiful paved pathways along the water at Commissioners Park with over 300,000 multi-colored tulip bulbs, the largest display in the city.
Here's a brief history about the festival and how it began. The tulip has become a symbol of friendship and gratitude between the Netherlands and Canada. During the Second World War, Canada helped liberate the Netherlands and sheltered Princess Juliana during the Nazi occupation. As a symbol of appreciation, the Princess sent 10,000 tulip bulbs to Canada every year. The orange shade represents the Dutch royal color, the red tulips symbolize Remembrance and the white symbolize Peace. Seventy years later, the tradition lives on.
After much procrastination, we finally decided to take a day trip from Montreal to Ottawa and witness this festival. With much delight, we were quite taken by the beauty of the city. The explosion of colors takes over the city and feels much like a piece of art. Ottawa takes much pride in its festival and if you're planning a trip to Ottawa, this is definitely the best time to visit.
Lesson of this story: Take advantage of the many festivals your city has to offer. You will be pleasantly surprised!
And enjoy Canada's 150 years of celebration!