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Canadian Tulip Festival

Top places to photograph beautiful tulips in Ottawa

Each year in May, over one million tulips bloom across Canada’s capital region—a beautiful and colourful celebration of the spring season! Get your camera or smartphone ready and make sure to capture the glorious tulips at these epic, photogenic hot spots.

Commissioners Park

The largest and most impressive tulip displays are at Commissioners Park, located near Dows Lake along the Rideau Canal. Stroll along a one-kilometre (over half a mile) pathway that winds through large garden beds of multicoloured blooms. Each year, dozens of varieties of early, mid-season and late-blooming tulips are planted for maximum tulip enjoyment and incredible photography opportunities. Frame your shots to include some of the gorgeous mature trees that pepper the green space. During the annual Canadian Tulip Festival, the park also hosts entertainment, art-making and guided tours. The photogenic options will keep you busy for hours!

Tip: Don’t miss the spectacular Victoria Weekend Fireworks show on the last Sunday of the festival (weather permitting)!

Major’s Hill Park

With a spectacular view of Parliament Hill as your backdrop, the tulip gardens throughout Major’s Hill Park are not to be missed. Take postcard-perfect pics as you wander along the pathways between the Fairmont Château Laurier and the National Gallery of Canada. At the east end of Major’s Hill Park, you’ll find stunning winding gardens near the National Gallery. If you play with the angles, you can capture the Gallery’s beautiful architecture behind vibrant blooms.

Tip: Just below Major’s Hill Park is the historic ByWard Market area. Stroll around this vibrant neighbourhood, find its hidden courtyards and explore boutiques, restaurants and cafés.

Parliament of Canada

The most iconic spot in Ottawa for a postcard-worthy Tulip Festival pic is on Parliament Hill. Get up close to Centre Block and as low an angle as you can to snap a photo of the blooming tulips with the neo-gothic Peace Tower in the background. Perhaps try to get all those elements into a selfie?

Tip: Stop by on a Wednesday during the noon hour and you might see hundreds of people doing yoga on the lawn in front of Parliament (weather permitting) – another great photo opp!

Along the Rideau Canal

Beautiful garden beds are situated all along the Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage site which winds its way through downtown Ottawa. To cover the most ground, rent a bike or take a guided tour with Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals. Ottawa’s extensive pathway network makes cycling a breeze!

Tip: Try to time your photo to capture a variety of activities along with the tulips. You might see cyclists, runners or rollerbladers on the pathways, or kayakers, standup paddleboarders and other boaters on the Rideau Canal.  

Garden Promenade tour

Can’t get enough of tulips, flowers and other horticulture magic? Follow the Garden Promenade’s self-guided tour or join one of their guided excursions to see 40 of the region’s most beautiful, must-visit gardens.

Tip: Bring fully charged camera batteries and lots of space on your memory cards. Don’t underestimate how many photos you’ll want to take of the irresistible landscapes in the city!

To get the most out of your visit, see our page Best ways to experience glorious tulips in Ottawa

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