Earlier today something made me think of Ottawa where I grew up. I haven’t been back to my hometown for a few years, not since my mother passed away.
Perhaps it was Father’s day that made me think of my roots. Both my parents have been gone for a few years and while I’m beginning to get used to that fact, special days like Mother’s Day and Father’s day still make me a little sad.
Anyway … what I thought about earlier today was growing up near the Experimental Farm and how great it would be if Chris and I were still going back to Ottawa regularly. Why? Well … I had this inkling that my puppy would just love to see the cows, calves, pigs and the big horses pulling wagons or fitted with their ornate saddles. When I was young I’d go to the Experimental Farm, which was basically a real farm in the middle of the city, quite often and I’d pet the calves in their stalls or go to see the cows in the fields. It was a fun thing to do as a kid.
When I think about it I know remember that a lot of people walked their dogs in the area. I don’t think they brought their pets into the barns, but certainly they walked them along the Driveway and down the farm roads. Midnight would love a trip to the Experimental Farm. I wonder if I could find a farm open to the public somewhere outside of Toronto?
I wonder if the Experimental Farm is where I got my love of Tulips too? Each May they hold a Tulip festival and thousands and thousands of people come from all over the world to see the fields of tulips.
The Canadian Tulip Festival has grown into the largest Tulip Festival in the world from a gift of International Friendship given six decades ago. In the fall of 1945, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs. The gift was given in appreciation of the safe haven that members of Holland’s exiled royal family received during the Second World War in Ottawa and in recognition of the role which Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands.
The tulips have become an important symbol of international friendship and the beauty of spring. They also have special meaning to people of Canada’s Capital Region. During the war, the Dutch royal family was hosted at Government House in Ottawa. Princess Margriet was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital; her hospital room declared “Dutch soil” and the flag of the Netherlands flew on Parliament’s Peace Tower.
A few years after the Dutch tulips arrived in 1945, they became a strong attraction. Stunning pictures appeared in newspapers nation wide. More and more events began to centre around the annual bloom of tulips.
Isn’t it interesting how our tulip festival came about and how it’s now grown to the largest tulip festival in the world. Yeah … it’s no wonder I love tulips having grown up less than a mile from the Experimental Farm and the annual tulip festival.