Canadian Tulip Festival, The Largest in the World - Why in Ottawa?

Ottawa has earned a reputation of the place with lots of things going on year-around. There is no shortage of festivals and special events ...

Ottawa has earned a reputation of the place with lots of things going on year-around. There is no shortage of festivals and special events that draw enough attention from people all over Canada and overseas, thanks to its role as the capital of the second largest country in the world. Canadian Tulip Festival, arguably the largest tulip festival internationally, has become a very compelling reason people flock to Ottawa for two weeks in May each year. But why Ottawa? The climate is nowhere similar to the one in the Netherlands, especially in the winter. Click 'Read More' to find out.

You're right - it has nothing to do with the climate. More so - it would have been deadly for tulip bulbs if they were exposed to harsh and snowy winters in Ottawa Valley. 
The true reason lies with the history of Europe in the 1940s.
When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the Dutch royal family sought shelter in London, UK where they formed a government in exile. As the Nazi's army advanced throughout the European continent, London itself was no longer a safe place. So the Dutch queen sent her only daughter Juliana with her husband Bernhard Friedrich Eberhard Leopold Julius Kurt Carl Gottfried Peter Graf von Biesterfeld (a German, by the way) and the two daughters Beatrix and Irene to Ottawa, Canada where they would have been until the Dutch occupation by the Nazis had been over.
Ottawa turned out to be their home for the next almost five years until the Nazis surrendered in May 1945. 
Interestingly enough, the royal family lived a pretty ordinary life in Ottawa: princess Beatrix, who later became a queen, would attend a regular public school in Rockcliffe Park; Juliana's and Bernhard's third daughter was born in Ottawa Civic Hospital. 
Once the war ended, princess Juliana and her family returned home. In appreciations of what Canadians have done to the Netherlands (Canadian Army has greatly contributed to the liberation of the Netherlands and other countries in Europe from the Nazis), princess Juliana sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in 1945. 
The following year, she sent another 20,000 tulips asking to plant them in front of the hospital where her daughter Margriet was born. She also promised (and kept the promise) to send tulips every year during her lifetime.
In 1953, a good tradition that princess Juliana has established was turned into a festival which has been held annually in May ever since. Over 3,000,000 tulips, bought from Dutch and Canadian resellers, are planted each year in four main locations across the City of Ottawa. 
Commissioner's Park at Dow's Lake sees the largest number of tulips and, consequently, the biggest crowds. It's estimated, that over 600,000 people attend the festival each year. 
What was your experience like? And what was your favourite location to enjoy the tulips in Ottawa?

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