Saturday, June 15, 2024

Here’s what you need to know about the Canadian Tulip Festival

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The tulips take centre stage in Ottawa this weekend for the opening weekend of the Canadian Tulip Festival.

The 11-day festival will be held at Commissioners Park, with events also happening in the ByWard Market. This is the 72nd edition of the festival.

“It is absolutely perfect in the park right now,” Jo Riding, executive director of the Canadian Tulip Festival, told CTV Morning Live.

“It is stunning; all the early blooming beds are out in full force, all the mid-bloomers are coming out right now and we still got a few late bloomers so if you come in next weekend you’re going to have a fantastic show as well.”

Ottawa is home to one of the largest public tulip displays in the world, according to the festival.

The National Capital Commission says nearly one million tulips will be on display across Ottawa-Gatineau, including at Commissions Park, along the Rideau Canal and at Major’s Hill Park.

The opening ceremony for the Canadian Tulip Festival is set for Saturday at Commissioners Park, featuring a fly-by by a CF-18 and a Griffon Helicopter, a Central Band Parade and Air Cadets Parade.

“We’ve got free movies, we’ve got our nightly sound and light show featuring ‘Operation Manna,’ our Blacklight Boardwalk is back at Dow’s Lake,” Riding said.

On Sunday, May 19, the closing ceremonies for the festival includes a drone show over Dow’s Lake.

The Canadian Tulip Festival is also blooming in the ByWard Market this spring.

“We’re bringing the festival here to the ByWard Market and ByWard Blooms,” Zachary Dayler, executive director of the ByWard Market District Authority, told CTV Morning Live. “We’ve got a greater partnership with the Tulip Festival.”

In the ByWard Market, visitors can see eight-foot-tall blooms, giant bees and butterflies and the York Street Tulip Plaza.

“What was also really important to us is tourists start their journey of Ottawa right here, so they don’t think to come to Dow’s Lake as the first stop on their tour,” Riding said.

“By connecting with the ByWard Market District Authority, we’re able to offer that round trip trolley, we’re able to have a party right here where all the folks stay in their hotels and we bring a bigger footprint of tulip experience to everybody.”

Here is a look at some of the events at the Canadian Tulip Festival

Opening Ceremony: Saturday, May 11 at 11 a.m. There will be a Fly-By with F18s and a Griffon Helicopter and an air cadets parade.

Blacklight Boardwalk: Enjoy the free Dow’s Lake Blacklight Boardwalk Experience every night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Movies in the Park: Enjoy movies and special events daily at Commissions Park. A full list of movies is available on the Tulip Festival website.

Tulip Market in the Park: The tulip market is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Dow’s Lake.

RCAF Cockpit Experience: Visit the RCAF CF-18 Hornet Cockpit Experience on May 11 and 12 at HMCS Carleton at 79 Prince of Wales Dr.

Operation Manna Sound and Light Show: The sound and light show is free from 9 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. daily. “Step into the stories of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the pilots and aircrews that fought bravely during the Second World War.”

Drone Show finale: Sunday, May 19 at 9:30 p.m. Over 200 drones light up the sky over Dow’s Lake, creating a mesmerizing display of lights and shapes.

For a full list of events at the Canadian Tulip Festival, visit

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