The National Capital Region is famous for its dazzling displays of colourful tulips — and for good reason. Beginning in late April and continuing into May, close to one million tulips bloom in Ottawa and Gatineau.
As the official gardener of Canada’s Capital, the NCC designs, plants and cares for tulips in the region. That amounts to 100 varieties of tulips, in 120 beds across 30 sites.
Use our tulip meter to time your visit. Our experts plant a mix of early-, mid- and late-season varieties in every tulip bed, so you can enjoy beautiful blooms longer.
Level 10 of 10
Most tulips have faded, making way for other spectacular floral displays.
Last updated: May 29, 2023
About the Canadian Tulip Festival
Every spring, the tulip beds that are planted and cared for by the NCC set the scene for the Canadian Tulip Festival. While the NCC doesn’t organize this colourful celebration, we proudly support and host it.
This year, the festival will run from May 12 to 22 at Commissioners Park, in Ottawa. See the Canadian Tulip Festival’s website for details on this year’s event.
Top places to see the tulips
Here are our top spots for tulip gazing in the Capital.
With over 100 varieties of bulbs, Commissioners Park is a showstopper, and our major tulip display site. It hosts 30 tulip beds, including the Queen Juliana Gift Bed, which features the bulbs donated by the Netherlands. It also hosts a test bed, where our landscape architects test new tulips before mass planting them.
Along the Rideau Canal
The iconic Rideau Canal corridor is also a must-visit during spring. Take a stroll or a spin on the Queen Elizabeth Driveway or the Rideau Canal Western Pathway to see the tulips — and catch some amazing sights. Also, this route connects two great places to see the tulips: Commissioners Park and downtown Ottawa.
Parliament Hill may be under construction, but there’s still a lot to see in the area. Major’s Hill Park, for example, is one of the best sites to see tulips blooming in the spring. It also hosts the “tulips of thanks” bed, dedicated to front-line workers. To see more tulips, check out the planters along Confederation Boulevard and the displays at the National War Memorial.
The Quebec side also boasts beautiful tulip displays. Areas planted near the Alexandra Bridge, Jacques-Cartier Park and the Canadian Museum of History are worth a visit. Besides the tulips, these destinations offer magnificent scenes of the river and Parliament Hill. Plus, they are within walking distance from Major’s Hill Park.
Want to know where to see other tulip beds? Use our Tulip Map to find them all.
History of the tulips
The NCC created the first tulip beds in the Capital in 1945, after the Second World War. The first tulips were a gift from the Netherlands (100,000 bulbs) in thanks and recognition for Canada’s role in the liberation of the country.
The tradition continues to this day: every year, we plant the gifted bulbs in Commissioners Park. Tulips are a symbol of lasting friendship between Canada and the Netherlands.
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