Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rideau Canal Springtime

I took, in the words of the Musgrove sisters, "a long walk," today.  The purpose of my walk was to participate in the annual Tulip Festival.  The weather has been lovely all week, but - of course - the entire weekend is forecasted to be a rainy mess. 

Whatever!  I put on the wellies and my Dutch jacket and headed out the door.

The Rideau Canal, but no longer icy.

Spring is finally here!

During World War II Princess Juliana of the Dutch Royal Family and her children were living in exile in Canada, in Ottawa actually.  After the war, in thanks for a friendly home and for liberating their nation, the Dutch Royals made a gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs!  Then the Princess Juliana made another personal gift of 10,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa.

Lots of people were traipsing through the tulips, despite the rain.

Canada and Nederland are still great friends.  The Netherlands still makes Canada a present of 10,000 tulips every year.  And so Canada now has billions and billions of tulips!

Princess Juliana was especially delighted by Canada.  Her third daughter, Princess Margriet, was born in Canada.  In order to ensure that Princess Margriet was only a Dutch citizen and not a dual-citizen, Canada temporarily ceded a room in the maternity ward of the hospital where she was born to the Netherlands.  I find this delightful!  Canada ceded a room to the Netherlands.  I learned this fun fact on a large informational sign set up amongst some nice red tulips.

The walk down to and amongst the tulips was very far and rainy, so I took the "Tulip Shuttle" back up to a more easily walkable distance of my house.

One of the two tulip beds I visited had a large 'International Pavilion' set up.  A number of embassies had booths set up to sell trinkets and informational packets and foodstuffs!  The US did not have a booth.  What characteristic foodstuff would it have had?  Ding-dongs?  Anyway, I ate some Mexican food, some Korean food (and I missed Hye-Sung at the Korea booth), and some Thai food. 


A.H. Buchbinder said...

How gorgeous! And I *loved* the story about the princess and how the tulips came to Canada! Someone needs to write a kids book, if they haven't already...

Mum said...

Wow! My tulips are not that far along yet. It just goes to prove what we have always suspected; Brockway has it's own little corner of weather. Does this mean that this fall I will be receiving another 30 tulips from the Netherlands? If so, I'll have to have Dad build another flower box.

Lea said...

What a lovely city. A tulip festival sounds fantastic! I love tulips. Too bad it was rainy, but it was picturesque.

Ynn said...

I loved the pictures and your friend's idea about the princess and the tulips. And, how terribly gallant of Canada to cede a whole room to the Netherlands. I wonder...did the Netherlands fromally cede it back?

Jessica said...

They did. The Netherlands gave the room back to Canada after the princess was born and officially Dutch.