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A Journey Through the History of Canada's Tulip Festival

The sun is out in beautiful Ottawa, people are out and about and you can smell spring in the air! It's finally May and the beginning of my favorite event in Ottawa: the Tulip Festival. Everywhere you go in Canada's capital, you will find tulips blooming. And the story behind why is wonderful.

The story goes back to World War II, when the Netherlands found itself under occupation, enduring immense suffering and hardship. In 1940, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and her two daughters, Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene took refuge in Ottawa and remained there until the end of the war. While in exile, Princess Juliana gave birth to her third daughter Princess Margriet. In order for the new princess to keep exclusive Dutch nationality, part of the Ottawa Civic Hospital was declared Dutch soil. The Dutch Royal family remained in Ottawa until the Netherlands was liberated in 1945, a liberation where Canadian troops played a pivotal role.

As a gesture of gratitude and friendship towards Canada, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in 1945. The bulbs were planted in Ottawa's Commissioner's Park, marking the beginning of what would later evolve into the Tulip Festival. Every year, the Netherlands continues to send tulips to Canada, which has turned tulips into a symbol of friendship between both nations.

The first official Tulip Festival took place in 1953. Over time, the festival expanded in scope and popularity, attracting visitors from far and wide. Ottawa's picturesque landscape, adorned with millions of blooming tulips, became a symbol of hope, peace, and international unity.

The Canadian Tulip Festival, as it is known today, has grown beyond Ottawa's borders. Other cities across Canada, such as Vancouver, Edmonton, and Halifax, have also embraced the festival, creating their own floral showcases. People walk amongst thousands of beautiful tulips, taking pictures and enjoying the sun and beautiful landscape.

I love the story behind the Tulip Festival: its a story of gratitude, friendship, and the beauty of nature. It symbolyzes the strong bond between Canada and the Netherlands and it is a great way to recieve the spring.


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