Ottawa, the capital of Canada, holds every year the tulips festival at the beginning of spring in May.
Speaking about spring, it has been a long winter and compared to last year, spring is quite bad. Not much sun, not much heat. But I don’t loose hope that summer will finally arrive.
Don’t worry Montréal, I still love you.
Yes so the Canadian Tulips Festival.
We had a long week end this week thanks to Queen Victoria birthday. – Well there is two version for that holiday actually. In Canada, it is the Queen Victoria day, but for Quebec it is the Patriot Day. It was named like that in order to honor the rebellion against the British colonial power in 1837.
So having a long week end, I wanted to leave a bit Montréal. I was supposed to go see my friend in New Heaven (Yale, near Boston in the USA) but the friends I wanted to go with couldn’t. So change of plans. With one of my roommates we wanted to go hiking in the Adirondacks but guess what? It’s mud season! Don’t go hiking during the mud season, it can destroy the paths and the environment. Well, so we gave up on hiking. But fair enough, we were going to take Jesus (My car, which is pronounced JRESUS like in Spanish) out of Montréal. That is when we heard about the tulips festival and decided to go.
Our little escapade to Ottawa was quite nice because of the sun. We could brunch outside on a terrasse at Zak’s, walk around to the Parliament and watched some tulips.
We then went to the “heart” of the festival, few kilometers down – where there is the big natural lake ice rink in winter.
Yes, there was lots of tulips and lots of people but I was expecting more of a more natural field I guess. Like fields where you could walk in and maybe get bulbs. Here it was more like small well taken care of gardens.
We left at some point because rain was coming in and thunder too (driving back under the thunderstorm with an apocalyptic music was fun ahah).
When we got back to Montréal, I learned why the festival was actually happening and it is not at all because of spring.
It is because during the second world war, the Netherland royalty was sent to Canada in order to be protected as they didn’t think Europe was safe anymore (not even England). The princess was pregnant but she didn’t want her baby to get the Canadian citizenship before the Dutch one. That is why, the Canadian government decided to make the room she was in at the maternity clinic as “not Canadian” or extraterritorial so the baby could get the Dutch citizenship first.
In order to thank the Canadians, at the end of the war, the Netherlands sent 100 000 bulbs of tulips. The next year, the Princess sent 20 500 bulbs for the hospital and promised to send every year 10 000 other bulbs.
That is how the festival started.
What a nice story. I had no idea! It is crazy how we learn some stories at school that are related to our country but have no idea of what was going on elsewhere. Like for Anzac day (that I already mentioned in another article).
Well, I will leave you with that and I hope that you learned a little bit while browsing here! 🙂
Have you been to the festival? Did you know the origins?