The tulip festival will take place in the heart of Canada's capital (Ottawa, by the way) this May 12th to 23rd, 2016. It's about 2 hours away from Montreal, so it's totally worth a drive, especially if you've never been to Ottawa before.
The tulip festival is so much more than just a beautiful scenery filled with colourful flowers. It's almost two weeks of special events, activities for kids and adults, workshops, music, fireworks, shows and entertainment. If you were thinking of visiting Ottawa, this time frame is definitely the perfect occasion.
Canadian tulip festival has a wonderful story behind it. In 1940, following the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, Princess Juliana brought both her daughters to Canada, while Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch Royal Family were rushed out of Netherlands to rule in exile from the United Kingdom.
While in exile in Canada, Princess Juliana gave birth to her third daughter, Princess Margriet in Ottawa. The Government of Canada was extremely supportive and the birth was declared extraterritorial, which meant that the new born princess was not declared Canadian, but rather kept her right to be of Dutch nationality.
In 1945, Queen Wilhelmina reunited with Princess Juliana and her daughters in the liberated part of Netherlands. As a sign of gratitude, Princess Juliana gave the people of Canada a multitude of gifts including 100,000 tulip bulbs. A year later, Juliana gifted 20,500 bulbs more and asked the government of Canada to plant them next to the Ottawa Civic Hospital (where her daughter was born). That's how the festival began.