In our nation's capital, those flowers are tulips! Approximately one million of them, to be precise. Ottawa has been home to the Canadian Tulip Festival since 1953. During WWII, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and her family found refuge in Canada. They lived in Ottawa, and her third daughter, Princess Margriet, was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. After the war had ended, Princess Juliana gave Ottawa a gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs as a thank you.
The Tulip Festival is a symbol of international friendship and a celebration of spring. Ottawa has a number of truly excellent festivals, and the Tulip Festival is the grand opening for the spring and summer festival season. It's a great excuse to get outside, and it's impossible to not get stunning photos.
On Wednesday the weather here was so beautiful, I got out my rollerblades for the first time this season, and I skated down the canal to Dow's Lake, the location that has the most tulips. Later that afternoon, Rick and I biked to Major's Hill park, next to Parliament Hill, to take in more of the action. If you decide to visit the festival, I strongly recommend bringing your bike, as Ottawa's bike paths are quite lovely. If you've never had a chance to tour the city this way, it will give you a new appreciation of our lovely capital.
The festival runs until May 23rd, and the website lists the events taking place throughout the festival. One of the volunteers informed us that the international food tents would be opening up this weekend, showcasing food from around the world. The festival is entirely free, so come one, come all! Hopefully the rainy weather will hold off for the crowds of people who will be stopping by the city to smell the flowers.