Dow’s Lake offers the largest display of tulips with 300,000 colourful tulips and breathtaking fireworks paying tribute to veterans and the WWII liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian Troops.
Since 1953, Ottawa’s official flower, the tulip, has been recognized as an international symbol of friendship and peace. The Royal gift of tulips to the people of Canada is a global attraction celebrated annually in May at the world’s largest tulip festival with attendance of over 650,000.
Before the construction of the Rideau Canal, this area was known as Dow’s Great Swamp. The gardens and residential enclave, nicknamed Indian Village, was built from 1920 to 1950s on a former lumberyard site. A rail tunnel, formerly owned and operated by Canadian Pacific, passes under the lake is now used for Ottawa’s light-rail transit system.
Dow’s Lake pavilion is open year round and offers three restaurants overlooking the water, canoe and paddle boat rentals, boat mooring and an indoor change area for skating. In addition, Dow’s Lake residents enjoy easy access to Little Italy’s restaurants on Preston Street and the Glebe’s renowned shops and restaurants on Bank Street.
During the winter, Dow’s Lake freezes and becomes part of the world’s longest skating rink and one of the primary sites of the Winterlude festival in February, with events such as the ‘dragon boat race’ on the ice.