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Canadian Tulip Festival brings spring bloom to three parks

Tulips at Lansdowne Park, 2019. (Photo/Devyn Barrie)

Where: Commissioners Park (main), Major’s Hill Park and Landsdowne Park.

When: May 10-20.

Cost: Free

The Canadian Tulip Festival runs from May 10 to May 20, 2019 and will feature hundreds of thousands tulips in bloom around the city.

This year’s festival takes place in Commissioners Park near Dow’s Lake, but you’ll also find tulips to admire at Major’s Hill Park downtown and at Lansdowne Park.

The festival will showcase more than the natural beauty of the tulip, however. The schedule is packed with musical performances, visual art, as well as a fireworks show on Victoria Day.


The fireworks show is on May 19, Victoria Day. They’ll start around 10 p.m. over the lake and it’s free to get into Commissioners Park to watch.


Enjoy music among the flowers with a series of concerts with The Dutch Theatre, under the direction of Ottawa’s Julian Armour. You can see a schedule of concerts here…


Preston Square’s Art in the Tulips will bring the work of local and regional artists to display in the flowerbeds. Here’s a taste of what’s in store. Some works will be available for purchase.

Walking tours

Explore the park while learning about the history of the Tulip Festival with a guided walking tour. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors and free for kids 12 and under. Booking here…


The Canadian Tulip Festival is a tradition dating back decades. It was inspired by Dutch Princess Juliana’s gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in thanks for Canada’s liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation during the Second World War. The Tulip Festival was founded out of this gift in 1953 by the Ottawa Board of Trade on a suggestion from famous Ottawa photographer Malak Karsh — himself very fond of the flowers.

To this day the Netherlands gifts 20,000 tulip bulbs to Canada every year.