A splash of spring colour on 17 Avenue S.E.

MAX Purple bus driving past some tulips

Last fall, Calgary Transit undertook a unique initiative to bring some natural beauty and colour to the transitway on 17 Avenue S.E. We planted 62,000 tulip bulbs in beds along a three-kilometre stretch of 17 Avenue, between 28 Street and Hubalta Road S.E. This vibrant display features all purple varieties chosen to match MAX Purple, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) bus line that connects 17 Avenue S.E. with downtown.

To ensure the tulips would thrive through the winter, we covered the planted bulbs with a layer of mulch. This not only insulates the bulbs against the cold, but also aids in moisture retention, benefiting both the tulips and existing plants in the beds.

Tulips are hardy, requiring very little water or maintenance, and will bloom every spring. As tulips bloom, they provide an essential early food source for pollinators like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, playing a crucial role in our local ecosystem. 

Woman admiring the tulips
Close up of tulips