Friday, May 15, 2009

Ottawa Tulip Festival

Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the fourth largest municipality in the country and second largest in Ontario. It is home to several former NSC employees and is a 4 hour drive from Toronto. The place is also accessible by Via Rail, the Greyhound bus, or even by plane.

Aside from those facts however, Ottawa is also known for The Canadian Tulip Festival.

Although Canada's Tulip Festival started in 1953, the story behind the festival started in the fall of 1945, when the people of the Netherlands sent a gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude to Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters for the preceding three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, in the Second World War.

Then in 1946, Princess Juliana sent 20,000 bulbs to show her gratitude for the hospitality she received here when she gave birth in 1943 to Princess Margret at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was declared to be officially a temporary part of international territory, so that she would be born in no country and would inherit only her Dutch citizenship from her mother.

Each year, Ottawa receives 10,000 bulbs from the Queen's household, bringing the number of annual blooms to over one million in the National Capital Commission tulip beds.

The Ottawa Tulip Festival lasts for 18 days in the month of May, and is claimed to be the world's largest tulip festival, with attendance of over 500,000 visitors annually.

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