Canadian Tulip Festival Ottawa 2022

The Canadian Tulip Festival is back in Commissioners park this year! The Canadian Tulip Festival has been recognizing the sacrifices Canadian Soldiers made during the liberation of the Netherlands since 1953!

From May 13 to 23 Ottawa celebrates the 70th Anniversary with many new activities and of course the beautiful world-famous tulip gardens. Read on to learn about the history of this event and how you can enjoy the Canadian Tulip Festival this year. 

History of The Canadian Tulip Festival

In 1940 the German military invaded the Netherlands in what would become a 5 year occupation of the country. In response to this invasion, the Dutch royal family was forced to flee to the United Kingdom. This safe haven did not last long as the United Kingdom eventually came under fire from German bombing raids. For this reason, Princess Juliana, next in line to the Dutch throne, and her daughters, Princesses Beatrix and Irene, retreated to Canada and settled in Ottawa.

In 1943 Princess Juliana was set to give birth. The problem being that because she was in Canada her child would not be born on Dutch soil. Her daughter would therefore become ineligible for the throne. The government of Canada acted swiftly to temporarily declare the room where Princess Juliana was giving birth as outside of Canadian territory. That meant for a short time a room a the Ottawa Civic Hospital was not technically part of Canada.

Princess Margriet Francisca was born on January 19, 1943. Princess Margriet was named after the marguerite, the flower worn during the war as a symbol of the resistance to Nazi Germany. She was christened at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, on 29 June 1943. Her godparents included US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Queen Mary (Queen dowager of the United Kingdom), Märtha, Crown Princess of Norway, and Martine Roell (lady-in-waiting to Princess Juliana in Canada). Margriet first stepped foot in the Netherlands in 1945 after Canadian and allied forces were able to liberate the country. 

Following her return to the Netherlands, Princess Juliana presented 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada in gratitude for the significant role played by Canadian troops in liberating the Netherlands and for providing her family with a safe haven during the war. The following year she sent 20,500 tulip bulbs. Juliana continued to send thousands of bulbs as an annual gift. She became queen in 1948 and continued the tradition. Each year the people of the Netherlands and the Dutch royal family send thousands of tulip bulbs to Ottawa as a sign of international friendship and appreciation. 

In 1953 the inaugural Canadian Tulip Festival was held in Ottawa. This year marks the 70th Canadian Tulip Festival. 

How To Enjoy The Canadian Tulip Festival

With thousands of tulips across the city and countless activities to enjoy, there are so many ways to participate in this year's Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa. The biggest display is located in Commissioner’s Park near Dow’s Lake, featuring over 300,000 flowers. 

Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, see the world through the ultraviolet spectrum. The Blacklight on the Boardwalk display will give guests a fun, educational experience of seeing the tulips just as a pollinator would!

Blacklight Boardwalk

See the tulips in a whole new light! Enjoy the FREE Dow’s Lake Blacklight Boardwalk Experience, from 8:00pm – 11:00 pm nightly from May 13 – 23, 2022.

With a complete one-kilometre of displays spanning the boardwalk, this will become the largest blacklight attraction in Ottawa, and the ONLY experience like it in the world!

Pollinators are crucially important to the health of our environment. This display will not only be eye-catching but also draw attention to a class of creature that greatly needs our attention and care.


Tulip Legacy Walking Tour

The Tulip Legacy Walking Tour is a professionally guided tour through Commissioners Park, providing visitors with in-depth historical and horticultural knowledge of the different tulip varieties within the festival.

Highlights include the Queen Juliana Gift Bed, The Man with Two Hats historic statue and Heritage Canada’s Dutch-Canadian War Brides Display.

Not able to get to us in person, we will offer 1 virtual tour on Saturdays and Sundays or you can watch a pre-recorded tour available for $5 per household.

Tickets are available for sale now. Simply select your preferred day and then you can pick your time. Pre-recorded tours can be purchased below the live tour dates.

Self Guided Tour

Walk through the area anywhere you want for free. Take lots of photos. The main grounds at Commissioners Park along the Rideau Canal's Dow’s Lake will have a spectacular 300,000 tulips in bloom. Those who live close can walk and bike through the spectacular fields of tulips. The views are spectacular and the setting is incredibly peaceful. Enjoy the beautiful displays and grab lunch or dinner downtown, you will not regret it! 

Map Of The Canadian Tulip Festival In Ottawa

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