After weeks of battling cold winter winds and staring bitterly at the piles of snow that refused to melt, someone out there finally flipped the switch and turned Spring on at last! This weekend all of Ottawa seemed to emerge from wherever they were hibernating and just lay on the soft green grass and baked in the warm sunshine. It was spectacular.
This past weekend started the week-long Tulip Festival, a celebration of the relationship between Canada and the Netherlands. In World War II, the Dutch Royal Family fled to Canada when the Nazis occupied their homeland. Canada also played an important part in liberating the Netherlands near the end of the war. As a expression of gratitude, the Dutch people gave us tulips! Now every May thousands of tulips bloom in the Capital as a way to mark this relationship. Plus, you know, they are a welcome splash of colour after a winter of greys and blues and browns.
I couldn’t let the weekend pass without getting out into the sunshine (apparently the entire city had the same idea), so I biked from my apartment to Commissioner’s Park (where most of the tulips are planted) and from there to downtown Ottawa. I stopped at The Tea Party, one of the many lovely tea shops in Ottawa, for a cream tea (pot of tea, scone, jam and cream) and a spot of reading (this magazine). From there, I biked through Byward Market, Major’s Hill Park, and around Parliament. Everywhere I went there were so many people! Runners and bikers and rollerbladers on the canal path, tourists at the Market, and families in all the parks, enjoying the beautiful weather. I’ve been in Ottawa less than a year, and already I am coming to love how much the people of this city enjoy the outdoors. There is nothing quite like wandering about a bustling city; especially when it is bustling with people just having fun!
That bike ride was one of the best ideas I’ve had lately, and I plan to repeat it as often as weather and time allows. We only get a few months of really nice weather and I plan to enjoy them to the fullest!