It has been a long winter and spring has been slow to arrive, so we could not be more ready!    We can’t wait for our patios to open!!!  The long wait means you may catch us sitting in parks or walking along the street, face up to the sunlight, with a huge smile on.  No wonder Canada is considered such a happy place!

Canadian Tulip Festival

Canadian Tulip Festival

Celebrate “A World of Tulips” at the 2020 edition of the multi-award-winning Canadian Tulip Festival.

History:  During WWII, Canadian soldiers bravely battled in Europe, culminating in their becoming the lead troops in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945.  During the war, then Princess Juliana and her family fled to safety in Canada.  In 1943, Princess Juliana gave birth to her daughter in Ottawa.  To ensure the newborn Princess Margriet was a natural born citizen of the Netherlands, Canada temporarily declaired the maternity ward of the Ottawa Civic Hospital to be extraterritorial.  In the fall of 1945, in gratitutde for Canadian hospitality and, more importantly, to honour Canadian troops for their leadership in liberating their homeland, the Royal Family provided a gift of 100,000 Dutch tulip bulbs.  The Kingdom of the Netherlands has presented Canada with 20,000 bulbs every year since.  In the hands of the National Capital Commission, the Dutch gifts have been transformed into over a kilometer of over 100,000 fabulous tulip blooms in Commissioner’s Park near Dow’s Lake. This forms the centerpiece attraction of the Canadian Tulip Festival.  This year marks the 75th Anniversary of this remarkable relationship!

Malak Karsh

The Lord Elgin has always had a special relationship with the Canadian Tulip Festival.  In 1953, it was world renowned photographer Malak Karsh who developed the idea of the tulip festival.  His iconic photographs have forever immortalized the tulip, proclaimed as the city of Ottawa’s Official Flower in 2002 and now recognized world-wide as a symbol of friendship and peace.  The Festival honors Karsh with the Homage ot Malak Photography Exhibit in the our Lobby Gallery here at the Lord Elgin.

 Our millions of tulips set the stage for a celebration of authentic art, cultural, historic, culinary and family tulip experiences at a number of official venues. At CommissionerPark – Dows Lake, tour the 1 KM stretch of colourful and commemorative tulip beds and learn their history with guided tours or catch the Victoria Weekend fireworks. . Head to the ByWard Market to tiptoe through a garden of urban tulip art, promotions and activities created and curated by artist Monique Martin. Foodies can sip and sample tulip-inspired culinary treats prepared by local chefs at Zibi Gatineau. Explore tulips across the capital when you visit gardens on the Garden Promenade.

Uniquely Canadian and one of the largest events of its kind in the world!

And just in time for the Tulip Festival, Ottawa Boat Cruises begin their famous cruises down the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River.  Book early to get onboard!!

We love our bikes here in Ottawa and have more trails than you can imagine. Explore our page HERE devoted just to Cycling in and around the Capital!!


Gatineau Park has officially opened it’s trails an beaches for the spring ans summer season! The snow has disappeared and the sun is making it’s way through the trees, warming up all of the hiking paths. The trails continue to be a wonderful spectacle as the weather increases, with beautiful lakes and scenic routes.

Parc Omega offers many different options for families, animal lovers, and those who want to be outside all year round! They offer car tours as well as walking tours which allow you to get into nature and see a variety of animals in their natural habitats.

Visit the Arboretum, located on Ottawa’s experimental farm which is home to Canada’s Agriculture and Food museum! Come walk through the park and enjoy the blooming flowers and the warm spring air this season.

Yoga on Parliament Hill is back for the spring and summer!  Were else in the world can you practice your downward dog on the property of working federal government buildings?  Join Lululemon as they present renowned yoga instructors every Wednesday at noon for a free one hour yoga class! Just bring your own mat and water, all levels of yogis are welcome for free yoga on the hill! Starting mid May 2019 through to the end of August.

yoga - 1

Get on the water at Dow’s Lake. Since the beginning of May, canoe, kayaks and paddle boats are now available for rental until the end of the summer.

Camp Fortune is known to Ottawa as ski resort during the winter. However, starting in the spring those giant hills get a makeover and are turned into zip lines and high ropes courses! Leave your skis at home and bring your sneakers for an aerial adventure.

Just steps away from the Lord Elgin Hotel is Ottawa’s Marathon (Race Weekend-  this year virtual) on the weekend of May 28 and 29, which has become one of North America’s premier racing events. This race weekend offers a variety of events ranging from 2 to more than 40 km for racing enthusiasts of all levels and those who come to encourage them. All you have to do is stay at the Lord Elgin Hotel to be at the starting line when you jump out of bed!

Ottawa Marathon - Lord Elgin Hotel

Race Weekend Ottawa

Spring fun continues in Ottawa with lots of great activities across the city! In an effort to assist your front-line staff with suggestions for guests/visitors, below is a list of great things to do in and around Ottawa this weekend. Please share with as many staff as possible.

Here are just some of the activities and experiences available in the region as of Thursday, May 13:

  • The Canadian Tulip Festival runs online from Friday, May 14 to Monday, May 24! Check out virtual tours and activities on their website to learn about the origin of the festival and the flowers. Did you know there are 30 major tulip planting areas around the region? It’s best to visit popular areas during off-peak hours to avoid crowds. Check out the National Capital Commission’s Tulip Meter and interactive map. FREE!
  • Shop the Village in Westboro for your chance to win giveaways! Visit the BIA’s website and social media to learn more and enter and to discover local businesses.
  • Want to try a new recipe? The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum has you covered, with tons of recipes to try at home including Algonquin bannock, pikoodinigan, stuffed wild mushroom caps, and more. FREE!
  • Check out Ottawa Tourism’s YouTube channel for virtual tours of attractions around the city as part of our Virtual Ottawa FREE!
  • Learn about Ontario’s Water Trail which includes great attractions along the Ottawa River, Madawaska River, and Rideau Canal.
  • Get active at the National Capital Commission’s Weekend Bikedays, presented by NOKIA! Now through Thanksgiving, portions of Ottawa’s scenic parkways will be open for active users to enjoy on Saturdays and Sundays (the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway will be open 8:00am to 4:00pm), as well as a portion of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway which will open for active users daily (between Fifth Avenue and Somerset Street, from 8:00am-8:00pm) until June 30. FREE!
  • Support our local restaurants by ordering take-out! Local Ottawa restaurants are offering take-out, meal kits, and other innovative ways for you to enjoy a delicious meal while helping out a local business.
  • Looking to have some virtual fun? Check out this list of must-try fun virtual social events with ideas for cooking, trivia, live shows, and more!

Don’t forget to share your pictures of this weekend on social media with #MyOttawa