Charlottetown Tulip Festival 'highlights vibrancy of spring': Mayor Clifford Lee

Erin McCabe
Published on April 22, 2014
Thousands of colourful tulips will be blossoming in Charlottetown in late May. Mayor Clifford Lee announced plans for the first annual Charlottetown Tulip Festival on Tuesday. It will be held May 24 and 25.
Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

Tiny Tim did not make an appearance at Tuesday morning’s news conference, which announced the first annual Charlottetown Tulip Festival being held May 24 and 25.

A few good-humoured jokes were made about the infamous singer of Tiptoe Through the Tulips, and also about former mayor George MacDonald, who was in attendance and suggested as a good substitute.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said the tulip festival will be a good way to help beautify the city and engage the arts and culture aspects of the community.

“Obviously, with the winter we just had I think we need to spend a lot of time convincing Charlottetonians and Islanders that we do have more seasons here than just winter,” said Lee.

“This festival highlights the vibrancy of spring on our streets and in our parks while encouraging both adults and children to enjoy this season," said Lee.

More than 70,000 tulip bulbs were planted in the city last fall in preparation for the festival.

The Charlottetown Tulip Festival, said Lee, will feature the eponymous flower in many events that will be free to the public.

Some events included in the festival are a tulip art exhibit and variety show (both at The Guild), a horticultural seminar at Beaconsfield’s Carriage House, a Promise of Spring music concert at Trinity United Church and a Tiptoe Through the Tulips tulip market at the Confederation Centre.

Another large part of the festival, said Lee, will be a window display contest, where business owners can decorate their storefronts in spring colours, with a tulip theme. Charlottetown residents are encouraged to take pictures of themselves and their favourite displays and share them on social media. The hashtag for the festival is #TipToeTulips.

“We are looking forward to seeing how many ways residents approach this fun challenge,” said Lee.

Throughout the festival, Lee will also be visiting nursing homes in the city, giving out tulips to the residents.

“That’s really a very small way of saying to the seniors, ‘thank you for the great work you’ve done in making this city the great city that we are’,” he said.

Grade 6 students have been busy helping the visual arts educator with Schurman Family Studios, Gail Hodder, create tulip sculptures as part of Children’s Art Project, another festival event.

The students have been learning about tulip history and the history of this region, as well as learning about the art of sculpturing and painting.

“The sculpture will be presented to participating schools as a lasting legacy of both the 150th anniversary celebrations and the Grade 6 students graduating in 2014,” said the mayor.

Singer and actor Catherine O’Brien, accompanied by Don Fraser, gave Tuesday’s news conference’s attendees a preview of what they can expect at the Promise of Spring concert by performing a couple of songs.

“Catherine,” chuckled Lee, after O’Brien dedicated their last song, He’s a Tramp, to him, “I know this is your first time entertaining at City Hall . . . and your last.”

All events are free to the public but some events require advance tickets for admission. More information is available on the City of Charlottetown website.