May 27, 2011

Travel Diary: Canadian Tulip Festival

The year was 1943. The Netherlands was occupied by the Germans. The Royal family was in exile. While the rest of the family stayed in London, Princess Juliana was in Ottawa, Canada. She was about to give birth to her third child, Princess Margriet in Ottawa Civic Hospital. The Governor General of Canada passed a special law granting the room of Princess Juliana in the hospital as extra-territorial so that the infant was born as exclusively Dutch instead of having two nationalities. This allows Princess Margriet to be in the line of succession. The Canadian government flew the Dutch tricolor flag on parliament's Peace Tower while its carillon rang out with Dutch music at the news of Princess Margriet's birth.

As an expression for her gratitude to Canada when Princess Juliana returned to the Netherlands in 1945, she sent 100,000 Tulip buds to Ottawa. In the year’s following her donation, Ottawa became famous for its Tulips. In 1953, the Ottawa board of trade and photographer Malak Karsh organized the first “Canadian Tulip Festival”. It became an annual event to be held in Ottawa every May.

This year I get to attend the Canadian Tulip festival. So I can tell you first handedly, the Tulips of Ottawa are beautiful. Actually, Ottawa in Spring is beautiful. That is, if its not raining. The blue sky, white clouds and beautiful flowers makes the scenes perfect. But that’s a post for another day.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so here are few thousand words for you to explain the beauty of Canadian Tulips:






Hope you like them!