Today was the last day of the annual Tulip Festival in Ottawa. Way back in WWII the Dutch Royal Family sheltered in Ottawa because Holland was occupied by the Nazis. One of the princesses was even born here. So every year they send us hundreds of thousands of tulips as a thank-you, and we have a two-week long party ending on Victoria Day weekend.
Normally the weather on this long weekend can be a little unpredictable. Often Victoria Day is considered to be the start of the summer, but it can be very un-summer-like on the actual weekend. Not so this year! It felt like mid-June all weekend. This was fantastic for biking around the city but it also meant the tulips were a little sun-baked by the time I made my way around to the various parks where they are planted. In fact, the flowering trees around the Experimental Farm kind of stole the show from the tulips! We don’t have cherry blossoms this far north but the crab-apple and other flowering trees more than made up for that absence.
There was a new tulip variety on display this year that was specially developed for Canada’s 150th birthday. The birthday isn’t until next year (2017) but I guess they wanted to show us the tulip a year early because it was everywhere.
Commissioners Park was packed with people all weekend, lots of families and couples out enjoying the weather and the view of Dow’s Lake. I think the tulips just gave them an excuse to come out and chill on the grass all weekend long.
I also found a few quotes chalked onto the pavement throughout the park. Very cool.
This is the best I have ever seen of the flowering trees in my 3 springs in Ottawa so far. It must be something about the suddenly warm weather that has them all blooming at the same time, and for so long. Something about knowing how ephemeral they are makes me want to sit and stare at them for hours at a time. I settled for a long leisurely bike ride through the Park and the Arboretum twice this weekend. They really were absolutely stunning. It was a great way to kick off the summer season.