The Tulip Festival was the original catalyst for this trip. Monica and I both love tulips but cannot have them at home beacuse of marauding neighborhood deer. The Tulip Festival in Ottawa is such a historic and favorite Canadian celebration. In 1940 (WWII), Canada welcomed Queen Wihelmina of the Netherlands and her royal family who fled Europe and sought refruge here. The queen’s daughter, Princess Juliana, gave birth to her third child in Ottawa. When she returned home after the war, Princess Juliana sent a gift of a hundred thousand tulip bulbs to Canada as thanks for the hospitality. Ever since 1953, the city plants 1 million bulbs which, in the spring, draw tourists from far and wide to see the spectacle.
- The forcast called for sun, we got clouds, at least it didn’t rain and the sun did peek out once or twice.
- We did a 14 km walk today in a big circle around the city to find and photograph tulips.
- Parliament Hill had a few nice red ones but it has been such a cold and wet spring that many of the tulips are still in bud. I was so desperate to see them!
- We stopped into St. Andrews Presbyterian to see the windows. This is the church where Princess Juliana’s baby was christened.
- We also stopped into Christ Church Cathedral. Modern gothic in design, the Memorial West Window is astounding!
- We walked Sommerset Street and entered the gate to Chinatown. The sidewalk has painted inlays of the chinese zodiac.
- We walked along vibrant Preston Street into Little Italy and found a quaint coffee shop for a short rest.
- We visited St. Anthony’s Church on Gladstone Avenue to marvel at the frescoes and stained glass by Guido Nincheri. All beauiful, of course, but the window of St. Patrick is especially alluring as it depicts Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland.
- We arrived at Commissioner’s Park on the shore of Dow’s Lake for the largest concentration of tulips… over 500,000 located here. Some of the flower beds were in full bloom while others were still thinking about it. Over all, it was truly something to see!
- Lunch from a Thai food truck did the trick. We people-watched as we ate on a park bench looking out at the lake.
- We walked back to the hotel (14km total) and kicked back for an afternoon repose.
- Dinner was right around the corner at one of Ottawa’s top Japanese restaurants, Genji. What a great meal and so totally different from other sushi we have had at home… topped off perfectly with the tempura banana.
Here are the day’s photos: The Canadian Tulip Festival