World’s Largest Tulip Festival Blooms in Ottawa

Ottawa (Vocus) May 1, 2009

From May 1-18, 2009, three million tulips bloom in Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, during the Canadian Tulip Festival – the largest festival of its kind in the world.

The Canadian Tulip Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who come to explore the 15-km (9.3 mile) Tulip Route that winds throughout the Ottawa region and along the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What springs up along this colourful Tulip Route?

A lavish art nouveau Tulip Festival Mirror Tent hosts the award-winning Chinese Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe (think: elaborate juggling and human balancing acts), live musical performances by jazz singer Kellylee Evans, folk singers Ian Tyson and Lynn Miles, as well as a thought-provoking speaker series called Celebridée, a Celebration of Ideas, which brings together thinkers, artists, writers, and political figures to debate and discuss issues. Canada’s political satirist Rick Mercer, Booker-Prize winning author Margaret Atwood and Sister Helen Prejean whose story turned into an international best seller and Oscar-nominated film Dead Man Walking, will all appear;
An International Pavilion to house representatives of 23 embassies and high commissions to share food, explore traditions and crafts from their respective countries;
5 vintage carnival rides, an interactive circus school that teaches festival-goers circus skills, as well as a Green Tulip Showcase to share ways for visitors to lessen their environmental impact;
Commissioner’s Park – home to 300,000 tulips alone – shines even more with street performers, school music programs, local painters as well as the outdoor Tulip Legacy Exhibit that started it all.

The Canadian Tulip Festival traces its roots to a gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs sent to the people of Canada by the Dutch Royal Family at the end of World War II. During the war, the Royal Family took refuge in Ottawa and Princess Margriet was born here. Canadian troops played a pivotal role in liberating the Netherlands, which led to the original tulip gift. Even today, the Royal Family and the Dutch Bulb Growers Association send tulip bulbs to Ottawa.

Want to make the most of your tulip experience? Ottawa Tourism offers a Tulip Celebration Package. To find out more about this package or to book, visit or by calling 1-888-OTTAWA-8 (1-888-688-2928).

Summer Festivals

From June to August, Ottawa reverberates with music festivals including:

The Ottawa International Jazz Festival (June 25-July 5);
The Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest (July 8-19) – the world’s second largest blues festival after Chicago’s;
The world’s largest Chamber Music Festival (July 25-August 8);
The Ottawa Folk Festival (August 21-23).

Couple music festivals with Canada’s biggest birthday bash (Canada Day on July 1), the world’s largest beach volleyball tournament (July 11), a green and eco-friendly Rideau Canal Festival (July 31-August 3), the eclectic ByWard Market neighbourhood, the pomp of the Changing the Guard Ceremony on Parliament Hill and you have an action-packed summer.

For information on Ottawa’s festivals and events, restaurants, attractions, neighbourhoods, or to book packages and access Ottawa videos and images, visit

Ottawa Tourism provides destination marketing, strategic direction and leadership in cooperation with members and partners to service the travel media and attract visitors, tours and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its vision is to build recognition of Ottawa as an outstanding four-season tourism destination.


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