Ottawa, Ontario – In 1943 Princess Margriet Francisca, the younger sister of the current Queen of the Netherlands, was born at Ottawa Civic Hospital – the only royal ever to be born in North America. The Dutch Royal Family had fled to Canada in 1940 after the WWII invasion of their country. Among their problems – the expected royal child needed to be delivered on Dutch territory to be a Dutch citizen. So, Canada ceded this one hospital maternity room temporarily to the Netherlands for the royal birth. In appreciation, in the fall of 1945, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs. And now each year Ottawa receives 20,000 tulip bulbs from the Royal Family and the Dutch Bulb Growers, a thank you for sheltering the Royal Family and for Canada’s help with liberation of the Netherlands during WWII. Now the gardens of Ottawa burst into bloom each year in early May as the city celebrates the world’s largest tulip festival.
Each spring more than 1 million tulips bloom in Ottawa. There is a 15 km (nine mile) scenic drive called the Tulip Route, which follows the historic Rideau Canal to the Parliament buildings and major’s Hill Park and then across the Ottawa River to the Outaouais. In 2007 this became known as the ‘festival without fences’ with all tulip events along the Tulip Route free. About three million flowers blossom throughout the region. The annual Tulip Festival is held in May. For more information on visit the Tulip Festival online or call the Tulip Hotline at (613) 567-4447 or 1-800-66-TULIP.
The Ottawa Hospital-Civic Campus, 1053 Carling Ave Ottawa, Ontario