Ottawa Tourism

May 8-18, 2015

The Canadian Tulip Festival is a celebration founded on international friendship with the 1945 presentation of 100,000 tulip bulbs from Princess Juliana of the Netherlands to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, given in appreciation of the safe haven that members of Holland’s exiled royal family received during World War II in Ottawa and in recognition of the role which Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands.

The Canadian Tulip Festival is also a celebration of the return of spring, with over a million tulips in 50 varieties blooming in public spaces across the National Capital Region. The highest concentration of tulips can be viewed in the flower beds of Commissioners Park, on the banks of Dow’s Lake, where 300,000 flowers bloom.

You can experience the festival at various sites throughout the city. This year, make sure to take in a floral-themed fireworks display over Dows Lake on May 8 and 9 as well as May 15 and 16. Other Tulip Festival activities include live music at Commissioners Park, vintage WWII vehicles and re-enactors, buskers and more. To see the festival activities schedule visit

Fast Facts

  • The Canadian Tulip Festival is the largest of its kind in the world, attracting some 600,000 visitors annually.
  • The first Canadian Tulip Festival was held in 1953 led by the Ottawa Board of Trade, at the suggestion of world renowned photographer Malak Karsh. Karsh is considered the founder of the Festival and his photographs have immortalized the tulip.