Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is inviting Princess Margriet of the Netherlands to the Canadian Tulip Festival next year, where he hopes to also unveil the new name of Fairmont Park.
The mayor is proposing renaming the park, which is in proximity to the Ottawa Civic Hospital, after the princess.
She was born at the Civic Hospital (now known as The Ottawa Hospital's Civic Campus) in 1943, when the Dutch Royal Family took refuge in Ottawa during World War II. The Government of Canada temporarily declared a maternity suite at the hospital to be extraterritorial jurisdiction, which meant the princess could enjoy full Dutch citizenship and remain in the line of succession.
The Dutch flag also flew over Parliament's Peace Tower on the day of Margriet's birth -- the only time in Canadian history a foreign flag has been accorded this honour.
Later this fall, Fairmont Park will feature a dedicated Liberation75 tulip garden, where the city will plant 1,945 tulips, marking the year of the Liberation. The Mayor will bring forward a motion to City Council for the renaming proposal, supported by Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper, when he returns from the mission.
The city will receive comments from the public for a 10-day period, starting on September 25.
"The Canadian Tulip Festival is very pleased with the renaming of the park in honour of Princess Margriet and as a symbol of our longstanding friendship with the people of the Netherlands," Grant Hooker, Chair, Canadian Tulip Festival. "We look forward to seeing this magnificent bed of Liberation75 tulips paint the park orange next spring, as we mark these events that unite our two countries."
Mayor Watson had the honour of meeting with Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet on the second day of the City of Ottawa's economic mission to the Netherlands.