Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Spring = Tulip Festival

Finally! Spring has arrived to Ottawa as well. Actually it is raining right now... but it wasn't this week-end :)

Each year since 1953 Ottawa has welcomed Spring (and wealthy tourist) with the famous Tulip Festival. While there are many other Tulip Festivals in North America during this period, (check wikipedia), Ottawa's Tulip Festival is the largest in Canada and it has a very particular story... somehow linked to international relations and country cooperation.

The story (wiki) says that "In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for 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.
The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet to Princess Juliana at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was declared to be officially a temporary part of the Netherlands, so that the birth could formally be claimed to have occurred on Dutch territory. In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year." The Tulip Festival started some years later in 1953.

Despite the pictures, I did not visit the Tulip Festival, but I just saw tulips all around the city (and in front of the Parliament Building as you can see). Last year I could not go to the Festival (actually it was a matter of principle... I did not want to pay to see some tulips and stands selling stuff). This year the entrance is free and they changed many many things about the Festival...they have even many countries having their own stand and promoting their culture (which should match the friendly spirit of the Tulip story narrated above). I'm looking forward to see many tulips (and I hope I won't find too many bees) ;)

(In the pics: Rita -my Hungarian roommate- and me)



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