Large tulip festival is back this month in Canada

The Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa bleeds into the city, with displays throughout the capital city that honor both the bright flower and Canada’s role in the liberation of the Netherlands during World War II.

In fact, the Dutch royal family gave 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada immediately following the war in 1945. The gift also honored the birth of Dutch Princess Margriet in Ottawa in 1943 – her parents, Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard had fled to Canada when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. She is the only royal personage ever born in Canada and is currently eighth in line to the Dutch throne.

Each year the Netherlands sends tens of thousands of bulbs to Canada in continuing appreciation for the harboring of the royal family, and these form the basis of the tulip festival displays.

This year, the festival celebrates 70 years with an innovative new exhibit: the chance to see tulips the way bees do. The Blacklight Boardwalk display involves 16 planters at Dow’s Lake Boardwalk. These flowers have been illuminated with black lights, which lets humans experience flowers in a whole new way. Many flower patterns are only visible with ultra-violet light that often serve as 'nectar bulls-eyes' to bees. With the blacklight display, visitors will be able to see these otherwise invisible designs.

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