One of the most colourful and exciting festivals of the year, the Canadian Tulip Festival gets underway May 12-22 in Ottawa! Grab your camera and explore these photo hot spots, and be sure to enter our Ottawa in Bloom photo contest!
One of the most impressive displays of tulips at the Canadian Tulip Festival is at Commissioners Park at Dow’s Lake. Stroll through fields of multicoloured blooms (over 1km of them!), and discover over 60 varieties of tulips including the special Canada 150 tulip. Easily accessible parking nearby and a Beavertail stand make it the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
Tip: Stop by on the weekend and you might spot a painting workshops by award-wining Canadian landscape artist Gordon Harrison.
Major’s Hill Park
With a spectacular view of Parliament Hill as your backdrop, the tulip gardens throughout Major’s Hill Park are not to be missed. Take a walk along the pathway from the Fairmont Chateau Laurier to the National Gallery of Canada and snap some postcard perfect shots. At the east end of Major’s Hill Park you’ll find some stunning winding gardens close to the National Gallery. If you angle it right you can capture the beautiful architecture of the gallery against some vibrant blooms.
Tip: The National Gallery is free on Thursday after 5pm, so if you plan your trip during that time be sure to pop into the gallery for a visit.
Lansdowne is the hub of activity during the Tulip Festival, home to the Lansdowne Park Tulip Gallery and the Tulipmania Fireworks (May 21st). Check out the Great Lawn which will be lined with tulip art installations, and pop inside the Aberdeen Pavilion to the Tulip Café to snack on the official Tulip Festival cookie from Moulin de Provence.
Tip: Don’t miss the Olympic Garden (close to the canal pathway) where you’ll find a beautiful tulip garden surrounding a sculpture by Vilem Zach commemorating the 1988 Olympic torch relay.
Parliament of Canada
The most iconic spot in Ottawa for a postcard worthy Tulip Festival pic is in front of the Parliament of Canada. Get up close to Centre Block and snap a pic of the blooming tulips with the Peace Tower in the background. This is an epic shot you won’t want to miss!
Tip: Stop by on a Wednesday and add hundreds of people doing yoga on the lawn of Parliament to your shot!
The Rideau Canal Pathway
The Rideau Canal Pathway from downtown Ottawa to Commissioners Park is a great route to explore by bike. With tulip gardens along the way and even wild tulips growing along the route, it’s the perfect way to experience the tulip festival and enjoy Ottawa’s extensive bike path network. If you don’t have a bike with you, you can easily rent one, or take a guided Tulip Festival Bike Tour with Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals.
Tip: The pond near the Canal Ritz Restaurant close to Lansdowne provides an especially beautiful photo op, so don’t forget to pull over for a few snaps.
Got a great pic from this year’s festival? Enter our Ottawa in Bloom photo contest and win one of 3 great prizes!