Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tulip Festival Ottawa

If you like TULIPS: mark your calendars for May 1 - 18, and plan for a trip to the National Capital of Canada.
The Tulip Festival has grown into the largest tulip festival in the world.
It began from a gift of 100,000 tulips given to Canada five decades ago by the Netherlands' royal family. This gesture showed their appreciation for the safe haven they were granted in Ottawa during the Second World War, and for the role Canadian soldiers played in the liberation of the Netherlands. Since then, the tulips have become an important symbol of peace, international friendship and the beauty of spring in Canada.

Getting to Ottawa

To make it easier (and a little cheaper), contact ViaRail and ask for their special Tulip Rate to Ottawa. There are several bus routes in Ottawa that can be used to reach the park sites. The bus ($3, or buy a DayPass $7 - exact fare, no change) is easy, planet-friendly, and saves you the hassle of looking for parking!

And these are the most popular festival places:

International Pavilion - Lansdowne Park Bank Street, closed to the Rideau Canal

The International Pavilion is home to 24 participating embassies and local community groups. Enjoy a variety of international entertainment on the Friendship Stage, taste exquisite international cuisine, dip into history, explore traditions, shop for your favorite souvenirs and discover tourism hot spots.
These countries are presented or give several performances: Argentina, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

Commissioner’s Park - Carling Avenue and Preston Street
An estimated 300,000 tulips shape and illuminate one of the National Capital’s most prestigious parks in the city. Throughout the Festival, street performers will grace the Park’s grounds, providing a musical and entertaining ambiance. There will also be local painters amongst the flowerbeds. The Tulip Boutique is back, as well as Music in the Tulips, a community and school oriented music program. School bands will serenade visitors as they stroll through the Park. Performances are given daily at 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) will provide a Tulip Legacy Exhibit, which recounts the history of the Dutch Royal family’s refuge in Canada during the Second World War and the contribution of Canadian troops to the liberation of the Netherlands in 1944-45.
While touring Commissioner’s Park, visitors can pick-up a free copy of the “Experience the Beauty! The National Capital Commission’s Tulip Beds” brochure, which provides information on the tulip legacy story, the different varieties of tulips planted in the 27 floral beds, and the location of designated photo sites in some of the Park’s most beautiful tulip displays of flowerbeds.

The Canadian Tulip Festival is also "greening" its practices: Banning Styrofoam, and allowing only compostable, degradable, or 100% recyclable dishes and cutlery on site, providing bike rental and bike parking to encourage bicycling.