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Ottawa Tulip Festival at risk over decreased funding

The Ottawa Tulip Festival has had to lay off staff as it deals with decreased funding from all levels of government.

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Good morning! 

May might almost be here but it certainly feels cold outside! My friend and I went out for dinner the other night to celebrate the arrival of warmer temperatures, though I think she might have jinxed it! There were flurries in the air. 

The future of Ottawa’s tulip festival is in the air after its funding was drastically cut, And bikers and runners will rejoice after it was announced the Queen Elizabeth Driveway will reopen for active transportation this summer. 

Lastly, a quick correction for the last newsletter: Maddy’s Gala was held in memory of Maddy Otto. Hannah, who was mentioned, is her sister. We regret the error. 

— Charlie Senack, [email protected]


Friday: 15 🌡️ 1 | ☀️

Saturday: 17 🌡️ 10 | 🌦

Sunday: 21 🌡️ 9 | 🌧

Monday: 18 🌡️ 12 | ☁️


Ottawa Tulip Festival at risk over decreased funding

What happened: Ottawa’s world-renowned tulip festival is in a cash crunch after funding for the yearly attraction was slashed. Executive director Jo Riding said financial support from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments has been withering, wrote CTV.  

  • “Everybody has tight budgets right now… Since the pandemic, everyone has had to tighten up and that includes government funding for festivals. We know we have to pivot, we know we have to be creative,” said Riding. 

Cost cutting: As a result of the money pressures, all staff who planned the festival were laid off last year. Two full-time and two part-time staff have recently

been brought back, reported CBC

Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the tulip festival had more than $800,000 in funds to work with. This year, it’s about $550,000. The City of Ottawa only contributed $55,000 this season, less than half of their 2022 spend. 

The province of Ontario gave the event about $139,000 in 2022, but only $55,000 last year. This year their contribution is unknown. Meanwhile Canadian Heritage used to provide at least $85,000 in funds, but this year it only gave $57,600.

Stopping funds: During the 2022 municipal election, then mayoral candidate Mark Sutcliffe came under fire for comments he made in 2006 suggesting that city funds should be cut for annual events like Capital Pride in August and the tulip festival in May, wrote PressProgress

  • “Barely a month goes by without some event coming to city council for a handout. This month it was the Pride Festival. In March and April, it was the Canadian Tulip Festival and Franco-Ontarien Festival,” Sutcliffe wrote in an Ottawa Citizen opinion piece. 

After his decade-old remarks resurfaced, Sutcliffe said he was a big supporter of arts and culture, noting that after writing his views in 2006, the city reviewed festival funding to ensure they had an economic value — a model he supports, said CityNews

  • “I’ve given thousands of hours to Ottawa’s arts and culture community as a volunteer with the Great Canadian Theatre Company and OrKIDstra. I know how hard they were hit during the pandemic. Ottawa’s arts and culture community deserve a Mayor who knows how important the sector is to both the cultural fabric and economic well-being of our city, and a mayor who will balance fiscal responsibility with compassion for the most vulnerable in our society,” said Sutcliffe. 

Planning ahead: Riding said there is no guarantee the city will provide any funding to the festival next year, which would cause a ripple effect in resources for future seasons. This year no guided tours are being offered due to insufficient funds. 

  • “When the city cuts its support, it impacts abilities to raise funds from other sources. The shrinking starts at home and then goes up the ladder,” Riding told the Ottawa Citizen

Other events struggling: The Ottawa Tulip Festival is not the only event in the city finding it difficult to get by. The Ottawa Festivals Network said funding from the federal level is down 25 to 60% and 50 to 70% at the provincial level. 

Events like BlueFest and City Folk will be least impacted by the cuts because only 10 to 15% of their funding comes from levels of government. 

The 27-year-running Ottawa International Writers Festival was almost forced to shut down last year due to tight bank accounts. It asked for $66,000 from Ontario’s Ministry of  Tourism, Culture and Sport, but received nothing.  It had to take funds out of its emergency reserve and lost $55,000. 


🥯 40: The age Wellington West’s Bagelshop is turning this weekend. [Ottawa Business Journal]

🛣️ 110 KM: The new speed limit for several Ottawa highways. [Ottawa Citizen]

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Queen Elizabeth Driveway to close for active transportation again this summer

What happened: A portion of Ottawa’s Queen Elizabeth Driveway, from Somerset Street to Pretoria Avenue, will remain vehicle-free for seven days a week in July and August, wrote the Ottawa Citizen

The Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway and the Kichi Zībī Mīkan Parkway will stop weekend and holiday traffic for active transportation, reported CTV. A 2.4-kilometre section of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway from Somerset Street to Fifth Avenue will also be used for cyclists and runners from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners and stakeholders to create spaces and experiences that make our region a wonderful place to live and visit,” said NCC Toby Nussbaum in a press release. 

Divided opinions: Last year Ottawa mayor Mark Sutcliffe caused quite a stir when he fiercely advocated for the Parkway to remain open for vehicles year-round. He said congestion became a real problem when games were taking place at nearby Lansdowne Park. Residents in the Glebe raised concerns about increased traffic flowing through their communities as a result of the parkway’s closure, said the Ottawa Citizen.

  • “I support active transportation. I ride my bike. I run. I think it’s great that we have places where people can run and cycle and participate in active transportation. I hear from people who visit the city that they’re amazed at how many pathways there are throughout our city and just how easy it is to get around on pathways,” said Sutcliffe. 

This year, Sutcliffe said he was pleased to see the Driveway would remain open on weekdays between Pretoria Bridge and Fifth Avenue.

  • “This is a positive development to address past concerns about congestion and emergency vehicles in this one specific section of QED. I appreciate the collaboration from the NCC to provide a solution that offers many options for cyclists but ensures we don't encounter major traffic issues,” he said on the platform X, formally known as Twitter.


⛳️ The National Capital Commission has purchased a Chelsea, Quebec golf course as part of a plan to pick up properties around Gatineau Park. Over 60 properties have been bought in the last decade and a half. The course sold for $3.9 million. [CTV]

👮🏼‍♀️ Jimmy Wise, a mechanic who was accused twice of suspected murder, died at the Montfort Hospital last week. Court documents said Wise was also a suspect in more than 50 unsolved arson cases in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. [Ottawa Citizen]

🏫 The Ottawa Carleton District School Board is looking for ways to ensure kids can attend class closer to home. The director of education Pino Buffone said not all schools offer the same programs and services. [CTV]

👮‍♂️ Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs said the force would consider giving more details about officer suspensions to provide a greater sense of transparency. His comments came after CBC revealed officers from 44 different force members from across the province were paid to stay home after being accused of crimes or misconduct. It has cost Ontario taxpayers about $134 million since 2013. [CBC]

👮‍♂️ Steven Deans, 38, has been charged after one of his employees, Nick Chenier, 20, died while trimming hedges in Manotick last May. This is the first time in the city of Ottawa that a criminal negligence causing death charge has been laid against an employer or a supervisor of the company, said Sean McKenny, the president of the Ottawa and District Labour Council. [CTV]

🚨 A preliminary inquiry has been scheduled in the case of 19-year-old Febrio De-Zoysa, who is accused of killing six Sri Lankan citizens in Barrhaven. His lawyer said the accused killer doesn’t plan to seek bail. [Ottawa Citizen]

📢 The City of Ottawa will look to Hamilton for advise on how to crack down on renovictions.  The city's planning and housing committee unanimously voted to support a motion from Somerset Ward Coun. Ariel Troster. Under new potential regulations, landlords could have to obtain a licence from the city within seven days of issuing an N13 reviction notice to tenants. [Ottawa Citizen]


Ontario has a wealth of fine food creators and because of our size, it’s sometimes challenging to find the best of the crop as companies struggle to get noticed.

Luckily art and craft shows are there to help corral some top talents and bring them to our attention. In today’s line-up, you’ll be pleased to know that all the products represented are entirely clean label, which means that only recognizable and pronounceable ingredients are used.


Ottawa Poutine Fest and Mac My Cheese | Ottawa City Hall | April 26-28, 11 am-9 pm | Exactly as it sounds, come enjoy some delicious classics, along with a beer garden | Free

Ottawa Grassroots Festival | 30 Cleary Ave. | April 26-28 | Multiple grassroots artists performing throughout the week | Tickets $39

613 Flea | Aberdeen Pavilion | April 27 | Come down and shop from local handpicked vendors | Free

Festival of the Maples | Downtown core of Perth | April 27 | Syrup producers, artists, vendors and food services, it’s a family fun event with kids activities as well | Free

PWHL Ottawa vs Montreal | The Arena at TD Place | April 27, 12:30 pm | Come see the women’s team play | Tickets start at $82

AutoEdge 2nd Annual Car Show | 2185 Robertson Road, Nepean | April 27, 2 pm-6 pm | The season opener, for the car enthusiast in your life, with prices, food trucks and music | Tickets $11

Ottawa International Festival of Writers and Food | Horticultural Building, Lansdowne Park | April 27-28 | Come meet authors and try some food, with multiple events | Various prices

Bytown Antique & Vintage Show | Nepean Sportsplex | April 28, 9 am-3 pm | Come pick up some new (well, actually old) antique vintage products | Free

  • The search for the Senators’ coach is picking up speed, with three candidates having had face-to-face meetings. [TSN]

  • 📜 Fed up with the shortsightedness of today's business news? History Investor’s weekly newsletter uses history to bring you insights and ideas that you can apply to your own life. Subscribe now! [Sponspred]

  • Here’s a helpful list of deals throughout the city compiled by Ottawa Reddit users. [Reddit]

  • This place is serving up some amazing Taiwanese tea and treats. [Capital Eats]

  • It’s been 70 years since it was -4 degrees on April 25th. [Reddit]

  • A woman has created a more easily searchable database of events at City of Ottawa facilities. [CBC]

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