A Quick History of the Ottawa Tulip Festival

Since 1953, Ottawa has hosted the annual Canadian Tulip Festival. Many of you have probably walked past these beautiful gardens, taking in the striking colours popping up in fields of green.

But why does this event happen, which has become one of the largest of its kind in the world?

This annual event actually dates back to World War II, when Princess Juliana of the Netherlands took refuge in Ottawa following the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands (along with her two daughters). Princess Juliana was pregnant on her arrival, and inevitably was to give birth to what would be her third daughter, Princess Margriet. In order for Princess Margriet to hold exclusive Dutch nationality, she must be born on Dutch soil. Thus, part of the Ottawa Civic Hospital was declared Dutch soil and the city itself helped celebrate her arrival by flying the Dutch flag at the top of the iconic Peace Tower. Ottawa became home to many of the Dutch royal family until they could return to the Netherlands in 1945.

As a thank-you to Ottawa and the Canadian people, Princess Juliana sent several gifts, including 100,000 tulip bulbs. Ever since, the Dutch royal family has continued sending tulip bulbs to Ottawa each year - which is now known as the "Tulip Legacy". This inspired the festival, which has occurred now for 75 years and continues to be widely attended and loved event in the Capital. And certainly a yearly event that we at Wren Valley Co absolutely love!

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