Hello From Ottawa: The Tulip Extravaganza At The Casino De Lac Leamy
After my historic train travel experience on the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train I decided to explore the surrounding neighbourhood. The Casino du Lac Leamy, located in Gatineau on the other side of the Ottawa River, is less than five minutes away from the train station and is one of the official locations for Ottawa’s famous Tulip Festival and this year, it is the main location for the World Flower Summit that is being held in Ottawa.
The Casino de Lac Leamy is right next to the five-star Hilton Lac-Leamy Hotel, which offers an urban resort experience 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. The hotel itself features 349 rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a luxurious spa with 17 treatment rooms, a fitness centre and a game room, a variety of meeting rooms as well as a restaurant with an outdoor patio. A conference centre, 24-hour room service, a cigar lounge and a number of boutiques round out the services at the Hilton Lac-Leamy Hotel. The city of Gatineau is the center of Quebec’s Outaouais travel region and offers quick access to a variety of urban and nature experiences in the immediate vicinity.
The Casino du Lac-Leamy is a regular official component of various Ottawa festivities, and this year again it is an official location of Ottawa’s Tulip Festival. Even more special is that this year Ottawa is hosting the 23rd World Flower Summit. This international event is organized by the World Flower Council, an organization dedicated since 1983 to furthering the cause of world peace through the beauty of flowers and the sharing of knowledge among those who have chosen the floral industry as their profession.
Juzaburo Sekiye, the founder of this organization and a citizen of Japan, had a dream of furthering the cause of world peace through sharing a love and knowledge of flowers…”making a flower the symbol of peace and culture without regard to country boundaries.” His dream became reality in 1983 with the first summit meeting of the Pan Pacific Flower Culture Conference in Gifu, Japan. The conference was later renamed The World Flower Council, and has since enjoyed continuous growth. Since 1983, WFC meetings have been held in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, the United States, the Philippines, Latvia, and Indonesia.
As you know, Travel and Transitions dedicates itself to building bridges between people from different places and to fostering greater cross-cultural understanding and tolerance. So the notion of building peace through a joint love of flowers is intriguing to me and I was happy to see that this year Ottawa was chosen as the location for the international conference of the World Flower Council.
The programming form May 18 to May 22 features exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops with 300 delegates from over 30 countries. The World Flower Summit encompasses a variety of ceremonies and presentations by flower designers from different countries. A variety of flower conception workshops advance the craft of floral design and at the Casino du Lac Leamy flowers are the key attraction during the Tulip Festival.
A Tulip Tour of the World includes 100,000 tulips in 16 exotic varieties, named after destinations in 11 countries. The gardens at the Casino du Lac-Leamy are the second largest of the Festival’s tulip gardens, after Dows Lake. A schedule of flower related events called the Tulip Explosion ( May 4 to 22, 2006) is sure to entertain every flower enthusiast.
The festival offers flower and design shows, with scores of activities including live paintings, exhibitions, competitions, and a dazzling assortment of floral creations by master and student florists. This weekend the Tulip Explosion culminates with the XXIII Annual World Flower Council Summit (May 18 to 22).
In addition to the dazzling outdoor display of tulips, the Casino also features giant tulips with a height of about 7 meters indoors. Throughout the entire month of May the Casino du Lac-Leamy has been turned into a center for floral displays. In addition, special dress designs are being featured in the walkways between the Casino and the Hilton Hotel.
I took my time to explore the floral beauties outside the Casino and as well as the decorative displays inside the Casino and the interconnecting walkways to the hotel which featured a variety of beautiful exhibits created by talented designers. The Casino du Lac-Leamy offered a great opportunity for a hobby photographer like me to try to capture the beauty of the world of flowers.