Here’s what you need to know about this year’s Tulip Festival

The Canadian Tulip Festival is set to kick off this Friday in the nation’s capital, taking place from May 10-20 at the Ottawa Commissioners Park.

Attracting over 600,000 national and international visitors each year, the event celebrates the Royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians that began following the Second World War, the Canadian Tulip Festival website reads.

Running since 1953, the event has boosted local economies, bringing in over $140 million per year.

The following is a schedule of activities at this year’s Canadian Tulip Festival:

  • Shop the Tulip Market: Open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily. Offers a selection of Handcrafted Tulip Merchandise from regional artisans. 
  • Movies & More in the Park: Free Children’s Matinees at 2 p.m. daily. Free Family-Friendly Features at 7 p.m. nightly. Games offered – including a flight simulator and a family Mario Kart race,as well as live workshops and special events.
  • Blacklight Boardwalk: Alight from 8 p.m. -10 p.m. nightly.
  • “Operation Manna” Show: Free 10-minute show starting at 9 p.m. nightly. “Operation Manna” is one the most notable RCAF missions of the Second World War.

Special events include:

  • Opening Ceremony, with a Fly By provided by the Royal Canadian Air Force on Saturday, May 11 at 11:00 a.m.
  • Flower Fun Run RCAF Centennial, starting at Queen Elizabeth Drive on May 12th at 12 p.m.
  • Drone Show Finale celebrating the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 100-year centennial on Sunday, May 19th at 9:30 p.m.

Parking is available at Carleton University, P7 lot for $12 daily. The festival is an eight-minute walk from this location, the website reads.

Those taking public transit should be let off on Carling Avenue to avoid traffic delays, suggest organizers.

Due to some street closures, travel around the Dows Lake Pavilion is expected to be challenging. Festival organizers recommend visitors use the OC Transpo Planner to plan their travel route in advance.

New this year is a Dow’s Lake Water Taxi Service – with a historical tour – that will be loading north of the Carleton parking lot. The taxi will take riders to the festival’s Blacklight Boardwalk, for $12 per person, per ride.

The event commemorates the service of over 7500 Canadian soldiers in the liberation of the Netherlands. It also celebrates the birth of Dutch Princess Margriet in Ottawa in World War II.

The largest public tulip display in the world, the tradition has continued — with the Dutch Royal Family sending 10,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa each year.

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