Visit the Canadian Tulip Festival Online

Veteran’s Affairs is helping to fund the virtual component of the May event

By Caitlin Finlay


Like many events during the pandemic, the Canadian Tulip Festival will have a virtual component this year. Organized by the Canadian Tulip Legacy, the event will take place May 14 to 24, 2021, both in person and virtually for those unable to attend the festival in Ottawa. The virtual element, funded with a donation of up to $135,000 from Veterans Affairs Canada, is an initiative entitled Towns of Liberation, which commemorates the Canadians who took part in the Liberation of the Netherlands in 1945 and the towns they liberated. The initiative will include an online social media campaign and educational tools for students.

“Canada played a major role in the Liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War,” Catherine McKenna, MP for Ottawa Centre and Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, said the funding announcement. “Every year, the Canadian Tulip Festival commemorates the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers and symbolizes the unique friendship between the peoples of Canada and the Netherlands. It is also a very important event to Ottawa’s tourism industry and economy. Today’s announcement of up to $135,000 in federal funding for the Canadian Tulip Legacy will allow the festival to go on safely and virtually.”

The Canadian Tulip Festival was established in 1953 to commemorate the royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canada after the Second World War. Every year, the Netherlands sends thousands of tulip bulbs as a symbol of international friendship and to show their gratitude for the role Canada played in the liberation of the Netherlands and Europe, and for providing a safe haven in Ottawa for Princess Juliana and her daughters. The gift also commemorates the birth of Dutch Princess Margriet in Ottawa during the war.

“The original gift of tulips was given in gratitude to all Canadians by the Dutch People and the Royal Family of the Kingdom of the Netherlands,” Jo Riding, the festival’s executive director, said in a statement. “Our mission is to ensure the Canadian Tulip Festival remains free to the public, never forgetting the pivotal role Canadians played in the liberation of the Netherlands, the value of freedom, and the importance of international friendship symbolized by the tulip.

“The generous support of Veterans Affairs Canada allows the Canadian Tulip Festival to fulfill our mandate while working towards the goal of establishing the tulip as a springtime celebratory counterpart to the autumnal commemorative poppy.”

Photo: iStock/GeraldMercier.