Tourism North Bay creates new Flight of Fancy Tulip Tour to recognize and celebrate the RCAF100

by | May 17, 2024 | Tourism Industry News

In celebration of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Centennial, the 22 Wing North Bay RCAF2024 Stakeholder Committee and the City of North Bay planted tulip bulbs in locations around North Bay that have special significance in the history of the RCAF. In order to recognize these efforts and celebrate this milestone, Tourism North Bay has created a Flight of Fancy Tulip Tour highlighting these sites across the city.

Four different tulip varieties were planted at the North Bay CF-100 Canuck Memorial at Lee Park, the Fighter Group Monument along the North Bay Waterfront, Memorial Park and at 22 Wing North Bay.  Although tulips were planted at 22 Wing, this site is not included in the public visitor tour.

Tanya Bédard, Executive Director of Tourism North Bay, expressed her enthusiasm for the new tour, stating, “We are proud to participate in the RCAF Centennial Committee and to work with this dedicated group in creating a new tour that highlights the significant contributions of the military to our city. Although the tulips have yet to bloom completely at all sites, we feel it is important to share the news about this new tour so that visitors can plan their trip in the next few weeks.  The tour not only shares background on each of the selected sites, but also provides visitors with a unique opportunity to explore the city’s picturesque landscapes and monuments adorned with colourful tulips.”

At each location, visitors will find a sign next to the tulip bed that details the significance and history of the site along with a QR code that will direct them to Tourism North Bay’s webpage which loads a map and further information regarding each site.

Colonel Richard Jolette, 22 Wing and Canadian Air Defence Sector Commander said, “The Flight of Fancy Tulips were planted throughout the city of North Bay and at 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base North Bay last fall so that in the spring of 2024 they would bloom in celebration of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Centennial.  Named Wings, Ad Astra, Rescue and Flyers these tulips reflect people who served, who continue to serve in the RCAF, and inspire future generations.”

The RCAF has historic ties to tulips, when in World War II, Canada assisted in the liberation of the Netherlands. As a thank you, and a yearly tradition, to this day the Netherlands sends 20,000 tulip bulbs to Canada to which North Bay received 8,500.

Chief Warrant Officer Didier Pignatel, 22 Wing Chief Warrant Officer and Champion for the North Bay RCAF 2024 Stakeholder Committee explains, ‘“The Flight of Fancy Tulips are not only symbols of the rich history of the Royal Canadian Air Force, but they also represent how a community comes together to celebrate the people of the RCAF.  Our Honorary Colonels, the city of North Bay, community members, members of 22 Wing North Bay gave generously and worked hard to plant close to 8,500 bulbs in Lee Park, the North Bay Waterfront, Memorial Park and at 22 Wing North Bay.  We are honoured with this incredible support which is yet another example of how North Bay appreciates its military.”

Mayor Peter Chirco continued, “The City of North Bay is proud to support the Flight of Fancy Tulip Tour, and we invite everyone to enjoy the beauty of these tulips as we celebrate 100 years of service by the Royal Canadian Air Force.”

The creation of the Flight of Fancy Tulip Tour underscores North Bay’s commitment to promoting tourism and preserving its rich cultural heritage. By honoring the RCAF’s Centennial, Tourism North Bay aims to pay tribute to the men and women who have served in Canada’s Air Force and we invite locals and tourists alike to join us in commemorating this momentous occasion.  It is expected for the tulips to be in full bloom during the last 2 weeks of May.

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