The following conversations occur every year toward the end of April with my relatives in Europe:
“So hot today, we ate outside! You must be so happy it’s spring!”
“… I’m watching snowflakes dancing in the wind. It’s spring for you guys, not for us.”
Then, the first week of May:
“Any plan for May 1?”
“… Work as usual, Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September in Canada and in the USA.”
A week later:
“Loving these long weekends, any plans for May 8?”
“… Not a bank holiday here. Canada doesn’t commemorate the end of WWII and the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.”
Now, just now, it’s finally time for us in Canada to enjoy spring weather and a long Victoria Day weekend! Phew. I’m considering calling my relatives to ask them if they are working today… “Oh, I’m so sorry, I totally forgot France doesn’t honour Queen Victoria’s birthday!”
We went from cold to hot overnight. I woke up last Thursday in a tropical country and suddenly realized I needed to find my shorts—it was 30ºC and humid. And all this depressing rain made Ottawa even greener than usual.
And of course, the tulips bloomed.
You wouldn’t believe how popular the yearly Tulip Festival is. Busloads of tourists suddenly show up to take pictures of flower beds and it’s almost impossible to find a parking spot around Dow’s Lake. Most locals also make a point of checking out the tulips at least once, when the weather gets warmer—it’s usually still chilly for the first week of the festival.
I’m not particularly into flowers, but I love the festival and yes, I think we go at least once every year. It’s more than just flowers—it’s the closure we need for that long and harsh season called “winter.” It’s a relief to see colours after months of white scenery, to hang out outside after rushing in the cold wind. A new chapter can begin, finally!
Plus, this is one of the most relaxed festivals ever. It’s free (unless your kid begs for a $4 hot dog), you can go anytime you want (I’d suggest daytime, though…) and there is absolutely nothing to do but walking from one bed of flowers to the next, no pressure.
This year, it was a challenge to take good pictures. First, it was about 7 p.m. and there wasn’t much light left. Second, it was windy and the damn flowers were moving more than Mark. And Mark insisted to “surprise” me with flowers so he kept on instructing me to close my eyes and I had to fake complete surprise as he was dragging me to the next flower bed: “Ta-da! Open your eyes… red tulips!”
Still, I got a few nice pictures.