Some of the tulips are late. And yesterday, it was a bit cold for Ben Tsai’s liking.
But the Toronto-area resident, who drove to Ottawa with his girlfriend to check out the opening weekend of the Canadian Tulip Festival, was so impressed that he plans on returning in two weeks to check out the flowers in full bloom.
“It’s nice now,” he said, “but it will be much nicer later.”
The first weekend for Ottawa’s signature spring event attracted an estimated 55,000 people over three days, said Stephan Klovan with the Canadian Tulip Festival.
New this year, the Mirror Tent has sold out several shows. “People heard about it, but they still have to see it to appreciate how beautiful it was,” he said.
Veronica Ladico, who was visiting Ottawa from Toronto for the first time with her mother, said she heard about the festival back home.
“We heard there were a lot of good shows with Salman Rushdie and Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood,” she said.
Ottawan Anne Marie Laurin said she loves the new direction the festival has taken.
“I like the evolution of the festival,” she said.
While she likes the different cultures the International Pavilion introduces to her son, Sam, 5, she said her mother and husband are planning on attending bestselling author Amy Chua’s speaking engagement on politics and economics on Friday.
Each spring, more than a million tulips and 200,000 annuals are planted in Major’s Hill, Commissioners and Jacques-Cartier parks, Parliament Hill, along Confederation Boulevard and the Rideau Canal and in front of national museums and institutions.
The festival runs through May 19.