Feds provide $130K to support this year’s Canadian Tulip Festival

tulip festival

The cash-strapped Canadian Tulip Festival has received $130,000 in one-time funding from the federal government.

Marie-France Lalonde, MP for Orléans, made the announcement Friday at the opening of the festival, on behalf of FedDev Ontario.

The funding is part of a combined FedDev investment of $530,000 through the Tourism Growth Program for the tulip festival, the Ottawa Children’s Festival de la Jeunesse and South Nation Conservation. 

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The funding has allowed the tulip festival to expand the UV-lit tulip garden located in the ByWard Market. The expansion includes giant artificial flower gardens and displays, all of which are illuminated by UV light at night. 

“This funding allows the Canadian Tulip Festival to not only continue our free tulip tradition this May, but also to expand our celebrations of spring into another one of the city of Ottawa’s iconic tourist draws, the ByWard Market,” said Jo Riding, executive director of the tulip festival, in a news release.

This year’s festival runs May 10 to May 20 with Dow’s Lake as centrestage for major events against the backdrop of 300,000 tulips. One of the goals this year has been to create a closer connection between the annual festival and the ByWard Market.

This year, the festival has experienced financial and funding challenges, leading some local professionals to volunteer their support.

The Canadian Tulip Festival was established in 1953 to celebrate the historic royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians immediately following the Second World War, as a symbol of international friendship. In 2023, the Canadian Tulip Festival welcomed 416,000 visitors across 11 days.

Also part of the funding announcement, the Ottawa Children’s Festival de la Jeunesse received $200,000 to expand the festival from a four-day event to five days, which will include the addition of evening events and weekend performances. 

With an investment of $200,000, South Nation Conservation will revitalize the original Findlay Creek Boardwalk to enable safe and accessible access to the Leitrim Wetland. This project also includes the installation of a new trailhead and signage.

“Investments in tourism are not only vital for economic growth, but they also strengthen the social fabric of a community and preserve its unique identity for future generations to enjoy,” said Lalonde.

The federal Tourism Growth Program provides $108 million over three years directly to businesses and organizations to help diversify regional economies by investing in tourism products and experiences that will encourage visitation to and within Canada. 

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