In 1945 the Dutch Royal Family sent Canada 100,000 tulips as a hearty horticultural ‘thank-you’ for providing a safe haven to Princess Juliana and her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
Each year since then the Royal Family, (as well as the Dutch Tulip Association) has sent Canada at least 10,000 bulbs as an ongoing gesture of thanks and international friendship, marking not only the Princess’ stay in Ottawa (where one of her daughters was born at the Civic Hospital), but also Canada’s role in the liberation of their country towards the end of World War II.
Years ago while in Amsterdam I visited the house where Ann Frank hid and kept her now famous diary. It was a chilling experience. There I learned more about the many lives lost, and the utter tragedy of war. I also developed a greater sense of pride for our Canadian military that was so instrumental in eventually freeing the Dutch people.
In 1953, Malak Karsh, the brother of the famous Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh, organized the first official Tulip Festival in Ottawa. Since then it has grown to become the biggest in the world.
Each year there are over one million tulip bulbs planted (of many different varieties) and there are a series of related events around the city, including live music and events for kids.
Attached on this post are photos and two short video clips from the opening day last Sunday (which had perfect weather) where we spent a tremendously relaxing afternoon with friends walking around Commissioner’s Park before grabbing supper at Dow’s Lake.
Since then the city has had beaucoup de sunshine and a few good rains. I notice that the the flower beds (and trees) have bloomed much more since then.
The boys and I are secretly (ha!) planning a Mommy’s day pic-nic this weekend so more photos from around town should follow.
I’ve been a pretty slack blogger as of late, but will post more soon. And I promise my next blog’s title will not be as cheesy as this one!