Malak Karsh was born in Turkey in 1915, followed his brother Yousef to Ottawa after enduring the Armenian Genocide. Malak worked as a photographer, mainly focusing on the natural beauty he saw in the capital city. One of his favourite subjects was the plots of tulips that Canada receives from the Netherlands. Wanting to create a way for more to enjoy the flowers, Malak approached the Ottawa Board of Trade with the idea for an annual Tulip Festival in 1952. In 1953, the first Tulip Festival was celebrated.