Despite chilly weather and occasional showers, the 67th annual Canadian Tulip Festival drew crowds estimated at over 600,000 to the tulip beds in Commissioners Park.
“Our returning of all Festival activities to the root of the festival’s origin…the National Capital Commission’s tulip displays along the shores of Dow’s Lake…together with the Festival’s story telling and light animation and excellent marketing by the festival’s general management company, Karma Creative Solutions, would explain this year’s exceptional turn-out,” stated the Festival’s volunteer President, Grant Hooker.
In the fall of 2018, Festival organizers approached the National Capital Commission with a request to concentrate their 2019 activities among the tulip beds in Commissioners Park near Dow’s Lake. Permission was granted to install two large “pavilion” tents in the heart of the park. A “Tulip Pavilion” for telling horticultural stories and a “Heritage Pavilion” for telling the story of the Festival’s origins.
The Embassy for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was approached with a request to convert a display trailer into a performance stage, later named the Dutch Theatre. Permission was granted and Julian Armour, founder and Artistic Director of the award winning July festival, Music & Beyond, organized 33 “Music & Tulips” performances for audiences during the 11 day tulip festival event.
“The public reaction to both Pavilions was positive and encouraging from day one,” stated Karma Creative Solution’s Co-Owner and Festival General Manager, Jo Riding. “People were especially appreciative that the Second World War stories which led to our Festival’s founding were being presented to new generations and to new Canadians. The weather was unseasonably cool, but hearts were warmed. Memories were made and smiles were everywhere.”
The close working relationship between the Festival, the National Capital Commission, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands this year has led to an early start in preparing for a very special festival edition in 2020.
“May 5th of 2020 will be the 75th Anniversary of the victory by Canadian troops that liberated the Netherlands from five and one-half years of occupation,” stated Festival President Hooker. “It will also mark the 75th anniversary of the Second World War’s end. That war and the Canadian liberation of the Netherlands gave birth to the NCC tulip beds and then to the Canadian Tulip Festival. We have an obligation to our roots to produce an event in 2020 that will celebrate freedom and honor memories. And, working with the NCC, the Dutch, and other partners, that’s exactly what we plan to do.”