LEGACY - Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe Branch No. 79

LEGACY - Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe Branch No. 79

Red and white blooms to showcase an international legacy

Garden planted to mark friendship between Canada and the Netherlands

On a sunny afternoon, among the turned up soil of the gardens in the Lest We Forget Memorial Park in Lacombe, community members gathered for the 70th Anniversary Dutch Canadian Friendship Tulip Garden ceremony.

Where seasonal flowers were once planted by City staff, now will be home to 700 tulips. The planting of the springtime flower, both in red and white blooms, is to commemorate the long lasting friendship that developed between Canada and the Netherlands during the Second World War.

Students from Lacombe Christian School, Parkview Adventist Academy, members of the Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe Branch No. 79, special guests and dignitaries gathered for the special occasion on Oct. 21st.

The event was kicked off first by a singing of O Canada, followed by City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie’s recount of the beginning of the friendship between the two countries.

“It began in 1940 with the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands,” he said. “The invasion necessitated the escape of Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch royal family to the U.K. In May of that same year, 1940, where they continued to rule in exile. A month after their arrival, Princess Juliana left for Canada with her two daughters, Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene.”

The royals stayed in Ottawa for five years and Juliana even gave birth to her third daughter Princess Margriet in the Ottawa Civic Hospital in 1943.

“The hospital was declared extraterritorial by the Government of Canada to ensure the newborn princess would have Dutch nationality in order to preserve her status in the line of succession for the throne,” said Christie. “So with the news of the birth, the Dutch flag was flown on the Peace Tower and her birth became a symbol of hope to the Dutch people.”

After the royal family’s eventual return to the Netherlands in 1945, Queen Wilhelmina sent Canada 100,000 tulip bulbs. The gift became an annual one and has now inspired the Dutch Canadian Friendship Tulip Garden concept across the nation, 70 years later.

This period during the Second World War was what ultimately forged the close friendship between Canada and the Netherlands the gratitude of the Dutch royal family from their stay in Canada, partnered with the role the Canadian Forces played in the liberation of the Netherlands.

“Today, citizens of Lacombe are honoured to receive this gift of red and white tulips,” said Christie. “We are very fortunate to be able to do this, on marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands and the continued enduring tradition of friendship between the Netherlands and Canada.”

Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe Branch No. 79 President Susan Churchill spoke of the major role Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands in the Second World War.

“In the final months of the Second World War, Canadian Forces were given the important and deadly task of liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation,” she said.

From September 1944 to April 1945, the Canadian Army fought the German forces, attempting to open the ports to allow food and other supplies to reach the Dutch people. By Nov. 28th, the first convoy of cargo ships entered the Port of Antwerp.

“More than 7,600 Canadian soldiers, sailors and airman died fighting in the Netherlands,” said Churchill. “Canadians are fondly remembered by the Dutch as both liberators and saviours who rescued millions from sickness and starvation in 1945. They are our grandfathers, fathers, brothers, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, neighbours and heroes. Canadian veterans, their courage, service and sacrifice have kept us strong, proud and free.”

The ceremony was then followed by the planting of the bulbs themselves. The students were joined by Legion members who one by one, got down on their knees to gently press the bulbs into the soil.

For the students, the planting was a way to get their hands dirty and interact directly with history. For Legion members, many who are veterans, planting the bulbs was seen as evidence of the long lasting friendship between the two nations and an acknowledgement of what was fought for in the Second World War.

Lacombe was one of 140 communities in Canada to be gifted with a tulip garden.

City of Lacombe Planner Jennifer Kirchner said it was important to commemorate the significant connection between the two countries. She was one of the organizers behind the project, who initially applied for the garden on behalf of the City.

“I was approached by a few community members about the project,” she said. “Communities from all over applied, but it came down to which communities had enough space to plant 700 tulips.”

The strategic location of garden, in the Lest We Forget Memorial Park, also contributed to Lacombe being chosen as one of the communities. In receiving the gift of the bulbs, the City had to agree to hold a planting ceremony, which would involved veterans and students.

A blooming ceremony will be held in the spring. An exhibit will also be debuted at the Flatiron Museum and Interpretive Centre regarding Dutch immigration around the same time.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Most Read