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Canada in 1940 after the German invasion of their country. Among their problems was the fact that the expected royal child needed to be delivered on Dutch territory to be a Dutch citizen. So Canada ceded a hospital maternity room tempo- rarily as Dutch soil. Today, the donation of those original tulips has blossomed


into the Canadian Tulip Festival, credited as the world’s larg- est tulip festival, drawing more than half-a-million visitors to Ottawa. The festival is not only a reflection of Holland’s continued gratitude, but an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of peace and international friendship between the two coun- tries. The National Capital Commission, the capital’s official gardener since 1953, purchases an additional 400,000 tulip bulbs from Holland. “All donated bulbs are sent from the Netherlands,” states


Marie-Eve Létourneau, the NCC’s communication officer. “These include the 10,000 bulbs by Princess Juliana (who


localgardener.net


passed away in 2004) and another 10,000 bulbs by the Dutch Bulb Growers Association.” Létourneau points out that this collection is an addition


to the already existing three to five million tulips that are planted throughout the region. Most of the bulbs are renewed every two years, except for those exhibited at the high-profile sites like Parliament Hill, Major Hill Park, the National War Memorial, Commissioner’s Park at Dow’s Lake, where the concentration of floral beds puts 300,000 tulips on display in a riot of colour. Admission to the parks is free and the exhibits cover a


10-mile route from Dow’s Lake that stretches along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway to the Ottawa River shoreline (on the Hull side) with the Parliament Buildings and the Capital’s skyline in the background. Tulip lovers can get more information at 1.800.66.TULIP or tulipfestival.ca. x


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