May long weekend Ottawa: Tulips, fireworks for Victoria Day

Gas prices as high as they are might keep people closer to home this long weekend.

Ottawa has plenty of events for Victoria Day which not only could be popular with the hometown crowd, but for tourists as well.

Carol Zulman and Eric Taub just flew in from Los Angeles. They’re in Ottawa to see the tulips and visit family, but getting here wasn’t cheap.

“When we started looking for prices it was out of sight,” says Zulman. “Close to $1,000 US per person to fly to Ottawa.”

The price of flights might have gone up, but getting here by car is also a small fortune.

Kristy Brown and her family is visiting from Nova Scotia.

“We drove from Nova Scotia and it was like $300 in gas.”

And Rachael Guidry drove to Ottawa from New Brunswick.

“Normally we probably could have gotten here with about a $70 fill up. Now its $120, $130.”

According to IPSOS, about 53 per cent of Canadians are reconsidering their road trip plans. However, CAA Business Manager Jeff Woznow says there are ways to do it for less.

“They’re taking into account the price of gas,” says Woznow. “It could be something as simple as changing from a 400-series highway to get where you’re going to take an 80 kilometer highway. That makes a huge difference.”

The Canadian Tulip Festival is a great place to spend the long weekend.

If you’re a little more adventurous you can visit Dows Lake Pavilion, rent a canoe, paddle boat, or kayak, and spend the weekend on the water.

“Very popular. Weekends are crazy,” says Dows Lake boat rental employee Evan Wakeman.

“We wanted to have a fun activity with the family,” says a Toronto resident renting a paddle boat. “We’re visiting from Toronto and it seemed like a fun way to celebrate together.”

For locals, and those who opted to spend the money to get here, a fireworks celebration is on the schedule this May long weekend for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

“Because it’s Victoria Day, there are fireworks on Sunday night at the Canadian Tulip Festival at Dows Lake, free,” says Jantine Van Kregten of Ottawa Tourism. “And also free on Monday night at the Rideau Carleton Casino.”

Carol and Eric canceled a trip to Europe to come to Ottawa, now hoping it was the right choice.

“We are renting a car and going to Québec as well, so it’s going to cost us as much as Portugal.” Zulman says laughing.

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