It looks like it’s going to be a quiet springtime in Ottawa. In an announcement on Monday, organizers confirmed that the Canadian Tulip Festival is cancelled, and all of the event’s displays and entertainment will be moving online.* While the festival is no longer scheduled to go ahead, thousands of flowers have already been planted across the city.
On Monday afternoon, organizers of the largest tulip festival in the world announced that their physical event would no longer be able to go ahead, due to COVID-19 concerns in Ottawa.
While this is surely a disappointment for the 600,000 people that usually attend the event, there will still be an opportunity to enjoy the displays and celebrations online.
In a statement on their website, event coordinators explained, “The Canadian Tulip Festival will be offering ALL our performances, programming, and public participation ONLINE.”
“We will continue to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands with all Canadians and the world through our website, our social media, and on our new YouTube Channel launching soon!”
The event will take place on the same dates as previously planned, between May 8 and May 18, 2020.
While the physical celebration will no longer go ahead, approximately one million flowers have still been planted across the city.
"Luckily tulips are planted in the fall for blooming in the spring," organizers told Narcity. "The city will still be covered in tulips come May!"
Share some #GoodVibes with those around you. #PhysicalDistancing doesn't mean you can't call up friends and share t… https://t.co/cEJjMDJvn5— Ottawa Festivals (@Ottawa Festivals)1585760506.0
Although some of the floral displays will still be accessible to the public, organizers note that there will be no staff, tour guides, volunteers, facilities, attractions or concerts on-site at Commissioners Park or Dow’s Lake this year.
While Ottawa Public Health (OPH) does recommend getting exercise and spending time outdoors, the agency urges people to stay at least 2 metres away from others at all times.
Many of the city's public parks and recreational areas are now closed, so double-check the signage before you go. Ottawa bylaw officers are handing out hefty fines to anybody caught in places that are now prohibited.
Instead, people are encouraged to stay home, "and enjoy all of the activities and presentations we are preparing online" organizers told Narcity.
Check out the OPH website for more details.
The Canadian Tulip Festival was established way back in 1953, in order to celebrate the gift of tulips from the Netherlands to Canada following the Second World War.
Sent as a symbol of international friendship, the tulips are now celebrated annually in Ottawa.
While the festivities are certainly going to be a little different this year, you can still catch all of the highlights on the event's official website.
*This article has been updated.