The tulip was declared the official flower of the City of Ottawa on October 24, 2001.
The history of our flower
During the Second World War, the Dutch Royal family was hosted at Stornoway - now the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons. Princess Margriet, daughter of the late Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital on January 19, 1943. Concerns that Princess Margriet might be considered a Canadian citizen and not a Dutch citizen lead the Government of Canada to temporarily declare the Ottawa Civic Hospital extraterritorial thereby ensuing Princess Margriet would hold exclusively Dutch nationality.
In the fall of 1945, then Princess Juliana presented the people of Canada with a number of gifts including 100,000 tulip bulbs. The gift was given to thank Canada for the safe haven givin to her family and to acknowledge the important role of Canadian troops in the liberating of the Netherlands. Queen Juliana continued to send a gift of thousands of tulip bulbs to Canada during her reign, a tradition that continues with her daughter Queen Beatrix and her grandson King Willem-Alexander.
The first Canadian Tulip festival was held in 1953. The Ottawa Board of Trade, with help from world renowned Canadian photographer Malak Karsh, whose photographs celebrate the tulips, formalized the festival to coincide with their annual bloom.