May 5th is Dutch Heritage Day in Canada instituted by a private member’s bill passed in parliament in Ottawa on October 23, 2018. On its third anniversary, Dutch-Canadians in British Columbia are leading the way to profile the day.
To commemorate the sacrifices made by Canadian families, veterans, and caregivers during the Second World War in Europe, the Dutch Liberation 2020 Canadian Society, in cooperation with the Netherlands Association “Je Maintiendrai” (Dutch Network), The Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vancouver and Tenold Transportation and Number 8 Freight will be distributing 6,000 tulip bouquets to 41 senior care homes in the Vancouver Lower mainland and Fraser Valley on
May 5, 2021. Tulips are a unique symbol of strength and hope as they were a source of food during the war in the Netherlands. The Society is grateful for the funds received from Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program – Western Canada and Territories Region, Service Canada to support the giving of tulips to seniors.
The film “75 years later: Sounds of Freedom” produced in 2020 to commemorate the efforts of veterans liberating the Netherlands will be re-broadcast on Global TV on May 8, 2021 at 4:30 pm.
In the Netherlands, there are three Canadian war cemeteries where fallen Canadians are buried, namely Bergen op Zoom, Holten and Groesbeek. As well, there is an organization “Faces to Graves” seeking assistance from Canadian families to build a virtual memorial digital file. Canadian families are asked to write their story and send a photograph of their loved one buried in the Netherlands to ‘Faces to Graves’ www.facestograves.nl.
In 2020, the Dutch Liberation 2020 Canadian Society commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands throughout British Columbia. Many “Thank You Canada” initiatives highlighted the occasion. Supported by BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation and bulb grower Van Noort Bulb Ltd., boxes of red “Canadian Liberator” tulip bulbs were distributed widely to elementary schools throughout British Columbia and Canada. A teacher resource guide with tulip planting instructions and two history lessons on the Second World War in Europe accompanied the tulip bulbs. In fall 2021, the Society may re-introduce the tulip bulb planting program for elementary schools.
In November 2020, Ms. Debbie Mar, a teacher at Upper Sumas Elementary School was awarded the Prime Minister’s National Award for Teaching Excellence 2020 for her work with the tulip project “Celebrating Liberation with a Promise”. Her inspirational leadership skills and teaching talents guided grade 3-4 students to plant tulips in a planter at the school. Further, she linked the activity to an art project as the means to visually express gratitude to WW II veterans. Two commemoration panels were recently placed at the school, to educate the wider community in Upper Sumas, Abbotsford, BC, of the “Thank You Canada” 2020 efforts. The panels were funded by Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program – Western Canada and Territories Region, Service Canada.