The Canadian Tulip Festival (French: Festival Canadien des Tulipes; Dutch: Canadees Festival van de Tulp) is a tulip festival, held annually in May in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The festival claims to be the world's largest tulip festival, displaying over one million tulips, with attendance of over 650,000 visitors annually. Large displays of tulips are planted throughout the city, and the largest display of tulips is found in Commissioners Park on the shores of Dow's Lake, and along the Rideau Canal with 300,000 tulips planted there alone.
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. The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was temporarily declared to be extraterritorial by the Canadian government, thereby allowing Princess Margriet's citizenship to be solely influenced by her mother's Dutch citizenship. In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year.
In the years following Queen Juliana's original donation, Ottawa became famous for its tulips and in 1953 the Ottawa Board of Trade and photographer Malak Karsh organized the first "Canadian Tulip Festival". Queen Juliana returned to celebrate the festival in 1967, and Princess Margriet returned in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the festival.
For many years, the festival featured a series of outdoor music concerts in addition to the tulips. The 1972 festival saw Liberace give an opening concert, and at the 1987 festival, Canadian singer Alanis Morissette made her first appearance at the age of 12, first became widely known after opening for Big Sugar at the 2003 festival. Montreal's General Rudie also gained valuable exposure early in their career with a performance at the 2000 festival.
For a dozen years, the Canadian Tulip Festival celebrated countries all across the world, who have also adopted the Tulip as a Symbol of International Friendship. From Turkey, the originating country of the tulip.
While the Netherlands continues to send 20,000 bulbs to Canada each year (10,000 from the Royal Family and 10,000 from the Dutch Bulb Growers Association), by 1963 the festival featured more than 2 million, and today sees nearly 3 million tulips purchased from Dutch and Canadian distributors.
Credit : Wikipedia
Picture Credit : Google