Saturday, April 11, 2009

Canadian Tulip Festival blooms brightly in Ottawa each year

Tulips in Vancouver's West End near Stanley Park. Photo by Sue Frause.

The largest tulip festival in the world is not in Holland, but in Canada. Ottawa is hosting the Canadian Tulip Festival for 18 days, from May 1-18, 2009. More than 1,000 volunteers produce the colorful show that has expanded its venues and activities. The Tulip Route includes the traditional sites at Major's Hill Park, Commissioner's Park and Dows Lake, but activities will also be held at Festival Plaza outside City Hall and Lansdowne Park by Queen Elizabeth Drive.
Celebridee, the festival's celebration of ideas, will be staged in the Belgian Mirror Tent located at Festival Plaza in front of City Hall. Musical acts include Ian Tyson, Kleztory, Lynn Miles, Meredith Luce, Kellylee Evans and Fred Penner. The Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe will give 23 performances in the Mirror Tent, presenting the best in Chinese acrobatic and circus performances. Also in the Mirror Tent is Seven Fingers, an ensemble of Quebec's top circus performers in their production of La Vie.

The International Pavilion expands this year at Lansdowne Park with 25 embassies and local cultural groups. A new event, the Circus School and Vintage Carnival, will give people the opportunity learn circus skills such as juggling, stilt walking, trapeze techniques and trampoline skills. There are also free live performances, vintage rides on a 1917 Ferris wheel and such speakers as Rick Mercer, Margaret Atwood and Lawrence Greenspon.

Oh, and there will be tulips, too!

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