Monday, May 10, 2010

Canadian Tulip Festival 2010

The Ottawa Tulip Festival, officially named the Canadian Tulip Festival, is the largest festival in the world.

The festival had its start in 1945 when Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs in appreciation for the safe haven offered to exiled Dutch royalty and the role Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands.

We enjoyed Mother's Day weekend in Ottawa, despite the snow flakes and rain. I don't recall a colder Mother's Day. Yes, the raindrops do look lovely on this tulip :-)

Did you know?

• The Canadian Tulip Festival is the largest tulip festival in the world.

• It was founded in 1953 at the instigation of renowned photographer Malak Karsh.

• Tulips belong to the lily family.

• Tulips came to Europe from Turkey.

• Tiptoe through the tulips, a song made popular by a singer called Tiny Tim in the

late 1960s, was originally a hit song in 1929.

• Tulip designs have been found on pottery dating back more than 4,000 years.

• Most tulips have no scent.

• Tulip bulbs are edible. They taste like onions. Starving Dutch citizens ate bulbs for

survival during the Second World War.

• The tulip is the world’s most planted flower.

• In the 17th century, tulips were mostly just red, yellow or maroon purple.

• The most popular colours of tulip today are yellow, white, pink and red.

• The Netherlands accounts for some 80 per cent of the world’s annual tulip bulb


• Tulips always have three petals and three sepals, six stamens and three stigmas.

• The bulb that produces the flower disappears after the plant flowers, but before

doing so produces an ‘offspring’ bulb that will flower the following year.

• 2,600 – The estimated number of varieties of tulips.

• 2 to 6 – the typical number of leaves on a tulip plant.

• 3 to 7 days – the typical lifespan of a tulip blossom.

• 15 – the number of different classifications of tulips

Even the cookies were painted with tulips!

More than one million tulips bloom from Commissioners Park at Dow’s Lake along Queen Elizabeth Drive to Parliament Hill and across the Ottawa River in Mackenzie King Estates in Gatineau Park, Quebec. This has been a part of the Canadian heritage and bond with the Netherlands originating in the gift of tulips to the people of Canada by the Dutch Royal Family following the liberation of Europe in the Second World War. A shuttle service operates from the main tulip beds in Commissioners Park to the tulip beds and festive activities in Major's Hill Park.

Hope you enjoyed the tulips!

Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. I really enjoyed hearing all those facts about tulips as much as seeing your beautiful photos! The tulips are gorgeous and so are you :)

  2. Hi,very stunning pics and tulips!!thank you for sharing to us.
    Tulips have a lot of colours and history!!

  3. Tulips are my favorite, I love this festival :) Thanks for sharing your fantastic time and pictures, Debbie! I hope you make it an annual event :)

  4. To see all those tulips would be wonderful! Can't imagine that many - literally fields. Thanks for all the info, most of which I did not know! Could you imagine Joe coming home one night and you asking him to plant 100,000 tulips..PLEASE!! LOL

  5. Beautiful post, Debbie ... I love the magnificence of the first picture.

    I enjoyed reading the facts that you posted and the historical background for the festival. What a wonderful thing Canada did for the Dutch during the war, and a beautiful gesture by the Dutch to thank them.

  6. I've always been intrigued by the history of tulips...especially the era when some varieties were more valuable than estates and were traded like stock commodities - amazing!

    Gorgeous photos! They are such an elegant flower.

  7. Debbie, what a great trip. I would love it. It's beautiful. And you look wonderful!

  8. I thought for sure I'd commented on this post. Beautiful tulips! Isn't it amazing to see so many at one time. You look so cute in the middle :-)


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