Your guide to tulip season in Gatineau-Ottawa

Published on April 18 2024

Who doesnt love beautiful colours? They make us happy! Well, spring has sprung and so has the Canadian Tulip Festival. The festivals main outdoor venue is Commissioners Park, where more than 300,000 tulips bloom around Dows Lake and along the Rideau Canal, transforming the area into a colourful canvas. Enjoy all that the region has to offer from shore to shore, including magical places to admire the tulips, restaurants where you can enjoy a bite to eat, and accommodations to round out this wonderful spring activity in style!


May 10–20, 2024

Good to know

Admission to the site and several activities is free!

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The colourful flowerbeds maintained by the National Capital Commission (NCC) cover an area of around 14,000 square metres. That’s roughly the equivalent of nine NHL hockey rinks!

On the Gatineau side of the river, Jacques-Cartier Park is a popular spot to admire these spring beauties along Laurier Street, between the Alexandra and Portage bridges. Nearby is the Canadian Museum of History, with its stunning views of the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill. These sites promise postcard-worthy photos.

Did you know that 100 varieties of tulips are planted in 120 beds in 30 different locations? Use the National Capital Commission (NCC) tulip meter to plan your visit!


Once youve tiptoed through the tulips, stop off at the Théâtre de lÎle, which is stunning both inside and out and offers a great program of live theatre. In addition to their proximity to the festivals focal point, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery of Canada present a variety of exhibitions well worth seeing. Consider booking a Lady Dive tour, a one-hour guided excursion on a bus that travels on land and water to show you Canadas capital as youve never seen it before! 

Follow our On the Shores of the Capital bike route, which highlights the tulips along the Ottawa River. Afterwards, take a well-deserved break in the fresh air and stay for a good picnic. Moussette Park, for example, located on the Voyageurs Pathway, is easily accessible and offers beautiful views of the river and Ottawa.

While youre at it, why not grab a bite to eat at the pink-themed Bobino Bagel as you admire the beautiful flowers? The tulip festival continues at the table! Several unique downtown Gatineau restaurants are within walking distance, including Caméline, Bistro CoqLicorne, LeCellier and Soif Bar à vin.

DID YOU KNOW? Tulips were considered a culinary delicacy in the Netherlands during a period of food shortage in the 17thcentury. Tulip bulbs were eaten like onions, and some dishes were even prepared with tulip petals. Fortunately, today we appreciate their beauty in gardens and bouquets rather than on our plates!


To make the most of this floral experience, book one or more nights at the Best Western PLUS Gatineau–Ottawa Hotel and Conference Centre or the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Conference Centre Gatineau–Ottawa, both on Laurier Street, where you can see beautiful tulips right from your window.


Experience Outaouais also has a themed package that includes a guided bike tour of the capital’s most interesting destinations. It’s a great way to explore the region during this colourful event. Make the most of it!

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