Nature in Canada is always putting on a show and Spring, with its beautiful flowers, is one of the more colorful attractions. White pops of snowdrops, pink swaths of cherry blossoms, and vibrant bursts of tulips all herald the arrival of the season. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, avid photographer, or simply enjoy taking in these stunning displays of color, there are plenty of places to see amazing spring blooms while on a train trip across the country.
Celebrate Spring Flowers at the Canadian Tulip Festival
Every May, more than a million tulips will blossom in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, located in the province of Ontario, and in the nearby city of Gatineau in Quebec. This glorious botanical extravaganza is part of the world’s largest tulip festival, the Canadian Tulip Festival. This year marks its 70th anniversary and it will run from May 13–23.
In previous years, nearly 650,000 people have visited the region during the festival, to enjoy the flower display — which features more than 100 varieties of tulips — and to take part in concerts, lectures, special art exhibits, and much more.
The festival has a very special origin that relates to Canada’s role in liberating the Netherlands during World War II, as well as hosting members of the Dutch royal family during the conflict. After the war, the Netherlands began presenting Canada with tulip bulbs as a sign of gratitude. This tradition continues to this day.
If you time it right, you can take in the festival on our Canadian History and Culture by Rail Tour.
Find the Perfect Photo Opp at the Okanagan BC Bloom Tulip Festival
Whether or not you’re looking for the perfect Instagram shot, the Okanagan BC Bloom Festival will have you sharing photos of all the stunning spring flowers.
This festival in the West Coast province of British Columbia was originally held in the agricultural area around Abbotsford in the fertile Fraser Valley. It was the brainchild of Alexis Szarek, whose grandfather, a Dutch immigrant and farmer named Peter Warmerdamin, had been growing tulips, daffodils, and peonies since 1974. Alexis wanted others to be able to stroll through the farm’s tulip fields and enjoy the breathtaking display of color.
When the family relocated to the Okanagan, so did the festival. It features three acres with more than 20 varieties of tulips. There’s also food trucks and horse-drawn carriage rides, to help make your spring celebrations complete.
Enjoy a Flower Walk at the Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada. Located in Burlington, in the province of Ontario, it is part of the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. During Spring, the RBG’s inviting nature sanctuary trails are in full bloom with forest wildflowers such as spring ephemerals. Woodland trails — with names such as Bridle, Captain Cootes, Grey Doe, Armstrong and Ginger Valley — are strewn with delicate flowers, including trillium, trout lily, and toothwort.
The rejuvenated David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden embraces environmentally friendly trends in garden design, while still respecting its horticultural heritage, and provides broad sweeps of changing color and texture through the seasons.
Discover Spring Blooms at Montreal's Botanical Gardens
Located just minutes from downtown Montréal, in the province of Quebec, the Jardin botanique de Montréal (Montreal Botanical Gardens) is considered one of the world’s greatest gardens. Spend a glorious Spring day exploring its 10 exhibition greenhouses, three cultural gardens, the Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion, and more than 15 thematic gardens, all spread out over 75 hectares — the gardens host 10,000 plant species. In early Spring, you can enjoy tulips, begonias, hyacinths, narcissi, and orchids, among other blooms. Discover the Garden's major blooms using the annual calendar of blooms.
You can visit Montreal on several of our Eastern Canada rail vacations.
Welcome Spring at The Butchart Gardens
Every season has its own claim to fame at Butchart Gardens, just outside the City of Victoria, in the province of British Columbia. Spring comes early to this coastal region and these gardens are renowned for their immersive displays of brilliant tulips, daffodils, and roses.
Founded by Jennie Butchart in the early 1900s, the gardens sit on what was once a barren limestone quarry that she reimaged as an expansive Edwardian Garden. Visitors will want to spend time leisurely strolling through the famous Sunken Garden and wandering the meditative Japanese Garden, but there’s also the stunning Rose Garden, the Italian Garden and the Star Pond. One should also make time for afternoon tea.
You can easily add on a visit to Victoria and The Butchart Gardens to any of our West Coast train trips.
Toast Spring at the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival
This heritage festival takes place at the end of May, each year, in Kentville, in the province of Nova Scotia. Running since 1933, it celebrates the gorgeous apple blossoms throughout the plentiful orchards of the Annapolis Valley. This year’s festival, with the theme “Back in Bloom” runs from May 25 to May 30. Events include an Apple Blossom Ghost Walk and Blossom Fireworks, as well as a Grand Street Parade and street party. You can also enjoy the region's famous apple cider, and raise a glass to the season.
Explore Nova Scotia on our Canadian Eastern Rail Classic trip.