Canadian Tulip Festival turns 70!

The Canadian Tulip Festival is back in person this year, May 13 to 22, better than ever!   Photo: NCC

The Canadian Tulip Festival, held online the last two years due to the pandemic, is back in person this year from May 13 to May 22 and is celebrating it’s 70th anniversary.

The festival commemorates Canada’s role in the liberation of the Netherlands in the Second World War and the annual gift of tulip bulbs from the Netherlands. The display of colour and blossom in Commissioners Park at Dow’s Lake can be stunning.

You can also meet some of the NCC gardeners who look after the tulips and ask them questions – how do they decide what colours to combine? How do they time the blooms? Everything you’ve always wanted to know about tulips!

Tulip Bingo at $5 per card is twice a day at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. in Commissioners Park. You can win prizes and after Bingo, play Plinko!

New this year are night-time activities. You can view the tulips at night along the Dow’s Lake boardwalk lit by UV blacklight, which is how the bees and butterflies see them.

In conjunction with the National Film Board, there will be free screenings of NFB movies every evening at 8 p.m. The idea is to bring a blanket or chair and some popcorn, or get something from the food truck. Film offerings include a range of NFB classics from the short animation Log Driver’s Waltz or The Big Snit to Indigenous films like Forgotten Warriors as well as historical and nature films. The website gives the full schedule with running times.

A “Ghosts of the Glebe” guided tour will also take place at night, at a cost of $20 per person (children 12 and under free). Ghosts of the Glebe is an extension of a project started by Glebe resident Dave O’Malley, who researched young men who left the safety of their homes in the Glebe to fight in the Second World War and never returned.  Photographs of the young men were published in the Glebe Report of November 2019 (“Neighbourhood of Sacrifice: mapping the loss of Glebe families in the Second World War,” by Dave O’Malley). This issue, as are all back issues of the Glebe Report, is available online at

During this night-time walking tour, the stories of three young men, one from each branch of the military, will be brought to life. Tours will take place daily from 8 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 to 10:30 p.m. on weekends.

The festival will end with a bang: fireworks at 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, weather permitting. Thrill to the spectacle of fireworks reflected in the waters of Dow’s Lake!

Virtual programs will also be available. For more information, go to

Share this