Tulips: what's the deal?

Did you know that the CFIA’s inspection activities have a surprising connection to the annual Canadian Tulip Festival?

Tulips: What's the Deal? – Transcript/Captions

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency corporate introduction plays. It shows images that represent the work of the Agency including a petri dish, strawberries, a growing plant, a chicken and a maple leaf.

Text: CFIA - Safeguarding with Science

A spokesperson appears on screen in front of a plain background and speaks directly to the viewer.

I'm sure you've always wondered what the CFIA and tulips have in common?

No probably not, but there is a connection.

Animated text accompanied by an upbeat jingle: What's the Deal?

The spokesperson appears in front of a spinning clock.

Rewind to 1943.

Canada sheltered the Dutch royal family during the Second World War.

Bomber planes fly across the screen.

Dutch Princess Margriet was born in our nation's capital at the Civic Hospital.

A map of Canada appears behind the spokesperson.

A "hospital" sign appears over Ottawa, Ontario.

The maternity ward was temporarily declared international territory by the Canadian government.

This ensured the newborn was not bound to any jurisdiction and retained her sole Dutch citizenship.

A ribbon in the colours of the flag of the Netherlands slides across the screen. A royal crown appears from behind the ribbon.

After returning home, the royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa as a show of gratitude.

A photo appears on screen, showing the Dutch Royal Family in the 1940s: Princess Juliana with Queen Wilhelmina, Prince Bernhard, and 3 Princesses.

The spokesperson reappears in front of an animated floral background.

The sound of a film projector is heard. Old film footage of a tulip festival is shown.

The Canadian Tulip Festival launched in 1953 and now over 500,000 people from around the globe attend each year.

Old film footage of a mob of people is shown, then a spinning globe. The film projector sound stops.

It's a celebration of the royal gift of tulips and a symbol of international friendship.

A field of tulips sway in the wind.

The spokesperson appears in front of a brightly-coloured spinning spiral background.

So, what's the deal?

The spokesperson reappears in front of a plain background.

Every year, the Canadian Tulip Festival showcases over a million tulips across Ottawa.

A garden of tulips in a park is shown.

A bed of tulips is shown with the parliament buildings visible in the distance.

And every year, CFIA inspectors fly 6,500 kilometers to the Netherlands to inspect 250 million bulbs and perennials before they get to Canada.

An airplane flies across the screen.

Illustrations of CFIA inspectors are shown on screen, with an animated group of tulip bulbs in the background.

This has been done for over 65 years!

To make it happen, CFIA inspectors conduct pre-clearance screenings in the Netherlands to allow the export of bulbs.

Photos appear on screen: A CFIA inspector examines tulip bulbs, crates of tulip bulbs in a warehouse, a gloved hand reaches into a crate of tulip bulbs.

They work side-by-side with our international partners and the Netherlands National Plant Protection Organization.

From July to March every year, agency inspectors work six-week rotating shifts, ensuring soil and plants are free of pests and safe to enter Canada.

A weekly calendar flips through pages showing the numbers 1 through 6.

A gardener kneels in the soil and plants a tulip bulb.

Tulips with red and white petals are shown swaying in the breeze.

Screened safe and planted last fall, special red-and-white tulips are on display this year to celebrate Canada's 150th Anniversary.

The spokesperson appears in front of a waving flag of Canada.

Fireworks explode in the sky, and the "Canada 150" maple leaf logo appears on screen.

There you have it!

Next time you see a tulip, think of us!

The CFIA web address appears on screen: inspection.gc.ca.

Learn more about the CFIA: Visit inspection.gc.ca


Archival footage supplied by Internet Archive (at archive.org)
Photo courtesy of Canadian Tulip Festival
Photo by Yousuf Karsh / Library and Archives Canada
Additional images and video used under license from Getty Images

Canada wordmark. Copyright Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), 2017.

Get more Inspect and Protect