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Canadian Tulip Festival


This picture story was submitted by Joanne Brown Simpson from Bolton, Ontario

Photographing flowers has been one of my passions since digital photography has made it so easy. Where better to find flowers than the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa? After a long winter this impressive display of colour is so welcome.

The origin of this festival was told to my sister and I by our father, Albert Brown, who was a veteran of WWII.  For three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands the future Queen Juliana and her family were given shelter in Canada. In 1945 the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude. Since then they have sent 10,000 bulbs every year.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands my parents returned to Apeldoorn with over 1000 veterans to parade for a crowd of over 150,000 people.

Their gratitude was overwhelming to my dear parents. The people opened their homes to accommodate the veterans. They didn’t share a common language but that didn’t stop them from becoming fast friends. A yearly phone call and card exchange at Christmas was a story that was always shared around the dinner table.

This gift to Canada is a gift to us all as Canadians. The stories of our parents’ and grandparents’ fight for freedom is meant to be shared. I am proud to pass on the history and beauty of this gift with you.

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