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It’s official: the tulips are blooming early in Ottawa. They usually come up in mid-April, not mid March. That’s how weird a winter it has been: soil temperatures two weeks ahead of schedule, no snowfall in March, record breaking warmth and now, early tulips.

artist impression of the Dutch ambassador

The Dutch ambassador isn’t worried:

Dutch ambassador Wim Geerts, who grew up with tulips, said Ottawa residents shouldn’t worry as things could change between now and festival time. "We’ll keep our fingers crossed," he said.

The organisers of the tulip festival plant the tulips to bloom in the early, middle or late season. They planted more than a million bulbs in October 2009.

There is no option of rescheduling the festival to coincide with the blooming of the tulips. "It’s a force that can’t be stopped," said Christine Charette, the festival’s director of planning and operations. "We have booked many acts. It has to begin as scheduled."

The festival, which runs from May 7 to May 24, draws close to 600,000 visitors to the Ottawa area.

Charette says she is hopeful. "This is Canada. It could snow tomorrow. We’re not too worried."

Source: Ottawa Citizen

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