Dog Friendly Ottawa: Colourful (Virtual) Dog Walking During Tulip Festival


Like so many, our travel plans have changed. In a parallel universe, my dog Victor and I are in Ottawa, Canada stretching our paws past thousands and thousands of tulips blooming annually as part of Canada’s Capital City’s Tulip Festival.

Instead, we’ll have to enjoy the acres of blooming bulbs online at catching glimpses of locals walking their pups through Commissioners Park. Leashed dogs are allowed in Commissioners Park – the main site of the Canadian Tulip Festival – where approximately 250,000 flowers are in full bloom.

Is the Ottawa Canadian Tulip Festival dog friendly?

The park is open to nearby residents (and their dogs), but parking lots and facilities are closed. In previous years, acres of blooming gardens, with clearly designated trails pass 46 planting beds full of 60 varieties of tulips, is a clear signal spring has hit the capital – and spring fever exciting house-bound dogs.
The Canadian Tulip Festivals runs May 8 to 18th, 2020 – but it extended online to include Tulip TV YouTube channel streaming new content daily.

The festival has a curious genesis: the Dutch Royal Family gifted Ottawa 100,000 tulip bulbs to plant in the city as a thank you for Canada’s pivotal role in liberating the Netherlands during World War II and for giving the Royal family safe haven during the war. The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of WWII’s end. To celebrate this milestone, a special orange #Liberation75 were developed, sold across Canada and planted last fall.

The tulips bloom for a few short weeks each spring – and some day my dog will sniff them. But not this year.

Check out other Ottawa dog-friendly adventures … including the canal.

TRAVEL GUIDE: During Spring 2020, Ottawa Tourism is promoting many creative initiatives allowing locals and others to experience Canada’s Captial:

  • Keep Ottawa Awesome program encourages people to purchase gift certificates from small business, including The Haunted Walk (coming up soon on
  • The Byward and Parkdale Markets (check out our dog-friendly experience here) started an online services allowing customers to purchase products like maple syrup and honey from market vendors and then pick up products at designated times and days.
  • The Sumer Solistice Indigenous Festival will move to entirely online programing June 1 to 30, 2020 in celebration of National Indigenous History Month.
  • Ottawa PoutineFest is resceduled for October 29 to November 1, 2020.
  • The Ottawa Pet Expo is still scheduled for October 3 and 4, 2020. (See dog events page) – Yes, we want to go!






  1. […] disclosure: we also took time to visit the Ottawa Arboretum near Commissioner’s Park, home to the annual tulip festival). The arboretum is another popular dog walking spot. Leashes are required, but there might or might […]

  2. […] hours along the TransCanada Highway, a route I’ve done many times heading to both Kingston and Ottawa, during dog-friendly road trips. Today, I’m without a canine companion but that’s about to […]

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