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ABOUT

Each year, Canada’s most vibrant Festival attracts over 650,000 visitors from around the world to celebrate the return of spring and take in the showcase of tulips across Ottawa and its national capital region. Our millions of tulips set the stage for a celebration of authentic art, cultural, historic, culinary and family tulip experiences.
In 2018, the Festival is all about “A World of Tulips” – we welcome you to come join us in our celebration May 11 to May 21 where our yellow World Friendship Tulip is front and centre this year!


 

Four Festival Experiences

Commissioner’s Park – Dows Lake, The Garden Tulip Experience:
Tour the one kilometre stretch of colourful and commemorative tulip beds. Learn about their history by taking guided tours or catch the Victoria Weekend fireworks.
Lansdowne Park, The Art & Culture Tulip Experience:
Explore Canadian handmade and international tulip art, photography and floral installations, onsite workshops, special film screenings, cultural displays, international stage performances as well as children’s activities.
ByWard Market, The Urban Tulip Experience:
Tiptoe through a garden of urban tulip art, promotions and activities created and curated by an annually appointed Featured Canadian Artist who also has had the distinction of creating this year’s Festival theme imagery – “A World of Tulips”.
The Garden Promenade, The Community Tulip Experience:
Explore tulips across the Capital when visiting Ottawa/Gatineau’s area gardens, and participate in Festival partner activities such as photography workshops, culinary events and even Yoga in the Tulips.
 
 

History

Malak Karsh

The Canadian Tulip Festival has been celebrating the tulip, an international symbol of friendship and peace, since 1953.  The first Canadian Tulip Festival was led by the Ottawa Board of Trade (now the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce), at the suggestion of world renowned photographer Malak Karsh. His iconic photographs have forever immortalized the tulip, proclaimed as the City of Ottawa’s Official Flower in 2002, and now recognized world-wide as a symbol of friendship and peace.

The Festival honours Karsh with the Homage to Malak Photography Exhibit in the Lord Elgin Lobby Gallery which welcomes visitors during the Festival.  Learn more about Malak Karsh at www.malakofottawa.ca

OTTAWA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Then known as the Ottawa Board of Trade when the Festival was founded, the present-day Ottawa Chamber of Commerce has enjoyed a prominent history in the Capital’s development as the Voice of Business in the City, representing over 700 companies and 27,000 employees from multiple industries for the past 160 years. Learn more about the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce at http://www.ottawachamber.ca/

 

Tulip Friendship Networks

International Friendships  

The Canadian Tulip Festival is a national celebration of the tulip as a symbol of friendship. The Festival regularly engages with a growing list of “Tulip Friendship Countries” from a roster of both World Tulip Society and International Peace Garden Foundation members to participate in annual Festival proceedings. With support from the embassies of 26 countries to date, programming at the Canadian Tulip Festival reflects this friendly international co-operation through stage performances, floral and art installations, culinary experiences and more. Occasionally, the Festival twins with one specific international tulip festival or floral event to embrace an annual theme and stimulate cross-cultural opportunities.

World Tulip Society

Initiated by the Canadian Tulip Festival in 2002, The World Tulip Society brings together the world’s tulip community to celebrate the tulip as a symbol of international friendship and peace through participation in meaningful tulip exchanges and activities – one being the biannual World Tulip Summit.

In October 2017 the Canadian Tulip Festival welcomed the tulip world to Ottawa for the 7th World Tulip SummitLearn more about The World Tulip Society at http://www.worldtulipsummit.net/

International Peace Garden Foundation

Inspired by the 1945 Tulip Friendship Garden gift from the Netherlands to Canada in gratitude for offering safe harbour to the Royal Dutch Family during World War II and by Ottawa’s 1991 presentation of a tulip garden to the United States in recognition of the lasting friendship between the two countries and the sharing of the longest undefended border in the world, the International Peace Garden Foundation (IPGF) was founded.

With the ultimate goal to foster world peace, the IPGF advances global friendship through the creation of Peace Gardens. Today 20 countries and their gardens share in this worthy cause. The latest Peace Garden, in Mexico at the Vallarta Botanical Garden, opened in February, 2017.

Learn more about the International Peace Garden Foundation at https://www.ipgf.org/

 

Canada Tulip Friendship Network

The Canada Tulip Friendship Network is a 65th Anniversary (2017) initiative of The Canadian Tulip Festival that connects communities, gardens, industry partners and events across the country through the tulip flower, the international symbol of friendship and an enduring symbol of Canada’s national ethos of kindness and hospitality.

To launch this new Tulip Friendship Network, the Festival in collaboration with the Canadian Garden Council, agreed to feature all the tulip garden recipients of the 70th Anniversary Dutch-Canadian Friendship Tulip Garden (2015)* as well as the 2016 recipients of the 150th Tulip Celebration Garden** on a map display of Canada at the Lansdowne Park Tulip Gallery, one of the Festival’s four official sites.

 

*70th Anniversary Dutch-Canadian Friendship Tulip Garden  

In 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the first gift of Dutch tulips bulbs to Canadians, as a symbol of appreciation for the role Canadian soldiers played in the liberation of the Netherlands and the hospitality Canada provided to the Dutch Royal Family in Ottawa during the War, the Canadian Garden Council, in collaboration with Veseys’s Bulbs, the Canadian Tulip Festival, Communities in Bloom and the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association developed a nationwide program that created 70 Dutch-Canadian Friendship Tulip Gardens across all of Canada.

**150th Tulip Celebration Garden

In fall 2016, in celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial, Vesey’s Bulbs of PEI and the Canadian Garden Council gifted 150 communities across Canada with 1,000 red and white tulip bulbs to create their own 150th Celebration Garden. These gardens beautified their communities and expressed “Happy Birthday CANADA” from coast to coast, showing how important gardens are to the health and development of this country and its people.

Board of Directors

The Canadian Tulip Festival is a non-profit charitable organization, established to celebrate the historic Royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians during the Second World War as a symbol of international friendship. The Festival preserves the memorable role of the Canadian troops in the liberation of Europe, as well as commemorates the birth of Dutch Princess Margriet in Ottawa during World War II—the only royal personage ever born in Canada.

 

Grant Hooker, Co-Chair/Co-Président

Founder/ Chairman- BeaverTails Canada Inc.


Board Secretary, Grant Hooker, was one of the two co-founders of BeaverTails Canada Inc. and BeaverTails Ottawa Incorporated. He served as Tulip Festival President and CEO from 1990 – 1993 and then as Chair for four more years. He served on the Board of Ottawa Tourism and was a Director of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

Alain Sekula, Co- Chair/Co- Président

Former National Vice - President / The Desjardins Group


Chair of our Audit Committee, Alain Sekula is a retired Senior Vice-President of the Desjardins Group and outgoing Chair of l’Hôpital Montfort. He’s the current chair of Le Réseau des Services de Santé de l’Est de L’Ontario and holds the rank of Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Canadian Armed Forces Health Services.

Donna Holtom, Vice-Chair/Vice-présidente

Owner, Holtz SPA/ Former Canadian Tulip Festival Chair


Donna Holtom was Chief of Staff for four years to former Ottawa Mayor Marion Dewar. She is the owner of Holtz Spa and the former owner of Santé Restaurant. Donna served on the Tulip Festival Board for seven years, including four years as Chair. Donna is a past recipient of the Ottawa Businesswoman of the Year award and she currently Chairs the Downtown Rideau Business Improvement Association.

Andy Cullen, Treasurer/Trésorier

CEO/ Owner, Beavertails Ottawa Incorporated


Board Treasurer, Andy Cullen, spent the first 20 years of his working life building the BeaverTails business in Ottawa and the BeaverTails franchise system around the world. He served as second in command to the City of Ottawa’s ByWard Market manager for 12 years and returned to BeaverTails 3 years ago as owner/partner and CEO of BeaverTails Ottawa Incorporated.

Benoit Hubert, Secretary/ Secrétaire

President, PGF Consultants


Benoit Hubert is the owner of PGF Consultants and has specialized for 20 years in project and organizational management. He was the Tulip Festival’s executive director in 2006, has helped organize Ottawa’s Festival Franco-Ontarien and was part of the team that produced the 2001 Francophone games.

Aldo Chiappa

Former Special Events Coordinator - City of Ottawa


Aldo Chiappa recently retired from the City of Ottawa where he served as the City’s coordinator for festivals and special events. He has worked with the Canadian Tulip Festival in a number of capacities for the past 40 years. He is a Director of Ottawa Festival Network and the Ottawa Sports Hall of fame.

Pam Hooker

Founder/Chairman- BeaverTails Canada Inc.


Pam Hooker is the other of the two co-founders of BeaverTails Canada Inc. and BeaverTails Ottawa Incorporated. She assisted in the general management of the Canadian Tulip Festival festival from 1990 through 1993 and was on the Festival’s Board of Directors for fourteen years. She claims to be the new board’s “cheerleader in residence”.