Exploring the Canadian Tulip Festival

Canadian Tulip Festival - Lindsay at Dow's Lake

Hi there! We decided to check out the annual Canadian Tulip Festival this year to see all of the pretty tulips. If you aren’t familiar with the Canadian Tulip Festival, it claims to be the largest tulip festival in the world with over 1 million tulips! I have to admit, it was so refreshing to see some bright colours after numerous overcast winter months (even if it did rain again!). We ended up strolling around Dow’s Lake and Parliament before taking shelter from the rain. I can’t even tell you how excited I am for warm weather and bright skies!

Scroll down to see some of the highlights from our trip and read about the history of the Canadian Tulip Festival.

Canadian Tulip Festival - Commissioners Park

Canadian Tulip Festival - Red and Orange Tulips

The Canadian Tulip Festival actually has a really interesting history! During the Second World War, the Dutch Royal Family took shelter in Ottawa, Ontario for three years. During that time, Princess Juliana was pregnant but needed to give birth on Dutch Territory so her child could inherit her Dutch citizenship (apparently to remain royalty). So Canada designated a wing of the Ottawa Civic Hospital as Dutch territory for one day and changed the flag over the Parliament building to the Dutch flag for that day. To express their gratitude, the Dutch Royal Family sent over 100,000 tulip bulbs and subsequently 10,000 more bulbs each year!

Canadian Tulip Festival - Lindsay at Commissioner's Park

Canadian Tulip Festival - Ryan with Red and Orange Tulips

Canadian Tulip Festival - Red Tulip

The Canadian Tulip Festival has approximately 500,000 visitors throughout the month of May each year!

Canadian Tulip Festival - Lindsay at Dow's Lake

^ Following the red tulip road!

Canadian Tulip Festival - Blue Purple and White Tulips

The largest displays of tulips can be found at Commissioners Park (Dow’s Lake), along the Rideau Canal, and around Parliament Hill. These areas also attract the largest crowds so make sure to visit early if you are looking for a quieter visit!

Canadian Tulip Festival - Canadian Parliament Tulips

Canadian Tulip Festival - Rideau Canal Ottawa

The tulips at the Canadian Tulip Festival are strategically placed to create beautiful visuals and each type of flower has a plaque with its name!

Canadian Tulip Festival - Canadian Parliament Tulips

Canadian Tulip Festival - Canadian Parliament Tulips

I would highly recommend visiting the Canadian Tulip Festival if you want something to do each May. We have had some pretty cold, wet weather this year, but the tulips still showed up in force. It was a beautiful way to spend a rainy day exploring our nation’s capital during the 150th Anniversary events!

Don’t forget to check out our posts last week from Quebec City and Sainte-Anne Canyon!

Thanks again for reading!

xoxox Lindsay

Your Guide to Visiting the Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa Ontario







  1. Ashley
    May 17, 2017 / 12:53 am

    Beautiful pictures! The rainy weather makes the tulips look so vibrant. 🙂

  2. Sherry
    May 17, 2017 / 11:54 am

    We are so lucky to live close to such a beautiful city with so much history and culture. The spring tulip festival is a welcome break from dreary winter snow and a wet spring giving us hope for a warm sunny summer.