The iconic Canadian Tulip Festival has been declared Canada’s number one event of the year for 2015 and one of the top 100 events for all of North America by the influential American Bus Association (ABA).
The Washington, D.C.-based ABA represents thousands of motor coach operators and tour companies across North America. Each year, an ABA committee compiles a top 100 list of best events and festivals in the U.S. and Canada, including a top event for each of the countries.
For 2015, the number one spot in the U.S. went to the Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival in Custer, South Dakota, while Ottawa’s Tulip Festival took the Canadian top spot.
“The real news here is that the Festival has been recognized as a magnet for tourism dollars, and this honour gives Canada’s Capital Region an important boost in visibility among professional tour planners,” Peter Pantuso, ABA’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
According to recent research by Dunham & Associates, one overnight visit by a motor coach can leave up to $25,000 in a destination’s economy.
The Canadian Tulip Festival, which declares itself the largest tulip festival in the world, is celebrated each May with over a million tulips throughout the nation’s capital.
The festival dates back to World War II, when Canada provided a safe haven to members of the Dutch Royal family for three years while the Netherlands was under Nazi occupation.
In 1945, the Dutch Royal family presented Canada with 100,000 tulip bulbs in appreciation of having hosted Princess Juliana and her daughters, as well as for its role in liberating the Netherlands. The tradition continues to this day, with the Netherlands sending tens of thousands of tulip bulbs to Canada each year.
The tradition was transformed into a festival in 1953, and has grown in size each year with entertainment and activities for all ages. In 2014, the festival attracted over 600,000 visitors over its 10-day duration in May.
“2015 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Dutch liberation,” said Laura Brown, executive and artistic director of the festival. “Today’s announcement as Canada’s top destination is sure to result in even more visitors for the special anniversary celebration next May.”
The 2015 festival will also feature the unveiling of a large bronze sculpture depicting Princess Juliana with her daughter Princess Margriet, who was born in Canada during the war.