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The “Liberation 75 Tulip” will Sweep the Nation in 2020

A lot of tulips have arrived in Ottawa from the Netherlands over the years. It began with 100,000 bulbs in 1945 and 20,000 more every year since. The timber trading town of Ottawa became resplendent with tulips of every hue. Such beauty could not but be celebrated, and so in May of 1953, the first Canadian Tulip Festival was organized in Ottawa after photographer Malak Karsh approached the Ottawa Board of Trade with the brilliant idea. Ever since the tulip has been the official flower of Ottawa and the festival an annual event that has now grown to be the largest tulip festival in the world.

Meanwhile, the dynamic friendship between the two countries has never been stronger. The Netherlands did not forget the 150th birthday of Canada their dearest ally and so, in 2017, bred a unique tulip to mark the event. The figure of a deep red maple leaf was emblazoned on a pure white tulip thereby embodying the Canadian national flag and all that it stands for on a beautiful blossom. Nowhere in history has a delicate flower so evocatively represented the love and gratitude one nation has for another.

The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first royal bouquet and for that reason, the annual tulip festival next year is going to be rather unusual. It gently revisits the power and beauty of a friendship born under tragic circumstances. It also commemorates the 75 years of freedom that was won at the cost of great sacrifice.

Canada has big things planned for the event. The Liberation 75 Tulip campaign is set to sweep over the nation. The Canadian Tulip Festival, the Dutch Embassy, Heritage Canada, and the National Capital Commission are coming together to promote a campaign to have 1.1million Liberation 75 tulip blooms covering the Canadian landscape in time to commemorate the anniversary. A radiant bloom will pay homage to each of the 1.1million soldiers who served in WWII. They will not be forgotten as long as Dutch tulips are blooming on Canadian soil.

The Tulip Festival officially ended May 20th, but last week many were still in their glory. We at the Canadensis National Botanical Garden Society in Ottawa are looking forward to the unique Liberation 75 Tulip Campaign next Spring.


Photo courtesy: National Capital Commission

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