Tulip Festival Ottawa 2024

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 10 to 20 Ottawa celebrates its 72nd Anniversary with many new activities. The beautiful world-famous tulip gardens will be open to the public to enjoy. If you have ever wondered about the history of the Canadian Tulip Festival, the schedule for this year's event, locations, and more, you need to read this article!

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. With much of Eastern Europe under siege, the Dutch Royal Family had nowhere left to run. This was of course until Canada offered a helping hand.

Princess Juliana, next in line to the Dutch throne, and her daughters, the Princesses Beatrix and Irene retreated to Canada and settled in Ottawa.

In 1943 Princess Juliana was set to give birth. This posed a difficult problem for the Royal Family. That problem was that her child would not be born on Dutch soil because she was in Canada. The soon-to-be-born Princess would therefore become ineligible for the Dutch 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 a room at the Ottawa Civic Hospital was technically not part of Canada for a short time.

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 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.

The Canadian Tulip Festival preserves the important memory of the Canadian troops' role in the liberation of the Netherlands and Europe and commemorates the birth of Dutch Princess Margriet in Ottawa during World War II—the only royal personage ever to be born in Canada.

In 1953 the inaugural Canadian Tulip Festival was held in Ottawa at the suggestion of world-renowned photographer Malak Karsh. This year marks the 72nd Canadian Tulip Festival.

Map of The Canadian Tulip Festival

Tulip Legacy Self Guided Walking Tour

The Tulip Legacy Walking Tour is a FREE self-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.

Each of the 7 stops in the park will feature a sign with a QR code to access information about the tulip bed you are currently visiting.

Please ensure you have a QR Code reader installed on your phone.

Movies & More in the Park. 2024 Line Up | FREE

Movies and Special Events and will be available daily at Commissioners Park at Dow’s Lake.

Friday, May 10
10:00am-5:00pm ONTARIO TENNIS ASSOCIATION SMASH CAGE at TULIP TOWN NORTH
2:00pm-04:00pm ORION AND THE DARK
7:00pm-09:00pm THE MONUMENTS MEN
9:30pm-11:00pm CONCERT MOVIE | ARIANNA GRANDE: EXCUSE ME, I LOVE YOU

Saturday, May 11
11:00am-12:00pm OPENING CEREMONY
10:00am-5:00pm ONTARIO TENNIS ASSOCIATION SMASH CAGE at TULIP TOWN NORTH
2:00pm-04:00pm WORKSHOP: WBU & OVWBCC World Migratory Bird Day
7:00pm-09:00pm TOP GUN MAVERICK
9:30pm-11:00pm CONCERT MOVIE | SHAWN MENDES: LIVE IN CONCERT
10:00am-05:00pm RCAF CF-18 COCKPIT EXPERIENCE at HMCS CARLETON

Sunday, May 12
10:00am-5:00pm ONTARIO TENNIS ASSOCIATION SMASH CAGE at TULIP TOWN NORTH
2:00pm-04:00pm KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE
7:00pm-09:00pm LANCASTER – ABOVE AND BEYOND
10:00am-06:00pm RCAF CF-18 COCKPIT EXPERIENCE at HMCS CARLETON

Monday, May 13
2:00pm-04:00pm CORALINE
7:00pm-09:00pm LANCASTER – ABOVE AND BEYOND

Tuesday, May 14
2:00pm-04:00pm TROLLS
7:00pm-09:00pm WORKSHOP: ACFAS UOttawa Presentation (FR Only)

Wednesday, May 15
2:00pm-04:00pm BOSS BABY
7:00pm-09:00pm GALAXY QUEST

Thursday, May 16
2:00pm-04:00pm PONYO
7:00pm-09:00pm FOOTLOOSE

Friday, May 17
2:00pm-04:00pm THE LEGO MOVIE
7:00pm-09:00pm OCEAN’S 11
9:30pm-11:00pm CONCERT MOVIE | JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE +TENESSEE KIDS

Saturday, May 18
2:00pm-04:00pm THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS
7:00pm-09:00pm JURRASIC PARK
9:30pm-11:00pm CONCERT MOVIE | SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY

Sunday, May 19
2:00pm-04:00pm MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO
6:30pm – 8:00pm WINGS OF HONOUR – Premiere CanGeo Films
8:30pm – 9:00pm CLOSING CEREMONY
9:30pm DRONE SHOW OVER DOWS LAKE

Monday, May 20
2:00pm-04:00pm DESPICABLE ME
7:00pm-09:00pm R.E.D.

Blacklight Boardwalk

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!

See the tulips in a whole new light! Enjoy the FREE Dow’s Lake Blacklight Boardwalk Experience, from 8:00pm – 10:00 pm nightly.

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.

Don’t miss the Sound and Light Show each evening at 9:00pm.

Canadian Tulip Festival Ottawa 2024

In summary, the Canadian Tulip Festival stands as a cherished occasion, commemorating both the elegance and historical significance of the tulip flower, while also honouring the enduring bond between Canada and the Netherlands, forged during the tumult of World War II.

Every year, Ottawa bursts with the vibrant hues of thousands of blooming tulips, captivating both residents and visitors with its spectacular display. Beyond the floral splendour, the festival offers a diverse array of activities, from movie screenings to guided tours and live performances. Whether you're a passionate flower enthusiast or simply seeking a delightful springtime outing, the Canadian Tulip Festival promises an enriching experience. It's a genuine celebration of international camaraderie, Canadian spirit, and the renewal of spring, leaving an indelible mark on all who partake.

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