Water­ville will bloom next spring

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier Water­ville

CCana­dian war Vet­er­ans and dozens of school chil­dren helped out, last Fri­day, to plant 700 red and white tulip bulbs in the Parc de la Tour d’eau. The town ap­plied, along with 400 other towns, for the free tulips from the Cana­dian Gar­den Coun­cil, the or­ga­ni­za­tion be­hind the Friend­ship Tulip Gar­den pro­gram, an ini­tia­tive to cel­e­brate sev­enty years of Dutch-Cana­dian friend­ship and the first gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs which was given to Canada in 1945. There will be a to­tal of 140 Friend­ship Tulip Gar­dens right across Canada bloom­ing next spring.

In May of 1940, fol­low­ing the Nazi In­va­sion of the Nether­lands, Queen Wil­helmina and the Dutch Royal Fam­ily were spir­ited out of the coun­try to rule in ex­ile from the United King­dom. The fol­low­ing month, Princess Ju­liana brought daugh­ters Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene to the safe har­bour of Canada, ar­riv­ing by ship in Hal­i­fax be­fore pro­ceed­ing to Ot­tawa, where mother and chil­dren were housed at Stornoway — now the of­fi­cial res­i­dence of the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion.

Jan­uary 19, 1943, while in ex­ile in Canada, Princess Ju­liana gave birth to daugh­ter Princess Mar­griet at the Ot­tawa Civic Hospi­tal, which was tem­po­rar­ily de­clared ex­trater­ri­to­rial by the Gov­ern­ment of Canada, to en­sure the princess would hold ex­clu­sively Dutch, rather than dual na­tion­al­ity. (The lat­ter would have af­fected her sta­tus in the line of suc­ces­sion for the Dutch throne; Princess Mar­griet re­mains the only royal per­son­age ever to be born within North Amer­ica.) At the news of the princess’s birth, the Dutch flag was flown atop the Peace Tower and Dutch mu­sic rang out from its car­il­lon. Over­seas, the princess’s birth was seen by the Dutch as an im­por­tant sym­bol of hope and source of in­spi­ra­tion.

May 2, 1945, fol­low­ing five years in ex­ile in Canada, Princess Ju­liana and her chil­dren were re­united with Queen Wil­helmina in the lib­er­ated part of the Nether­lands. As a show of grat­i­tude for her stay in Canada, and for Cana­dian sol­diers’ role in the lib­er­a­tion of her home­land, Princess Ju­liana pre­sented to the peo­ple of Canada a num­ber of gifts, in­clud­ing 100,000 tulip bulbs. The fol­low­ing year, an ad­di­tional 20,500 bulbs were re­ceived in Canada, with a re­quest to plant them on the grounds of the Ot­tawa Civic Hospi­tal.

Ju­liana, who be­came Queen of the Nether­lands in 1948, con­tin­ued to send a gift of thou­sands of tulip bulbs to Canada each year dur­ing her reign, which ended with her ab­di­ca­tion in April 1980 and the be­gin­ning of the reign of Queen Beatrix.

A Fes­ti­val is Born

The ar­rival of Princess Ju­liana’s gift of tulips gen­er­ated great in­ter­est, cu­rios­ity and ad­mi­ra­tion among Cana­di­ans and the mag­nif­i­cent dis­play of tulips quickly be­came a trea­sured tourist at­trac­tion in the Na­tion’s Cap­i­tal. Stun­ning pic­tures be­came a spring­time rit­ual in news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines na­tion­wide, in turn in­spir­ing events cen­tred on the an­nual ar­rival of a blos­som­ing num­ber of tulips of many colours.

In 1953, at the sug­ges­tion of world-renowned pho­tog­ra­pher Malak Karsh, the Ot­tawa Board of Trade spear­headed the cre­ation of a Cana­dian Tulip Fes­ti­val, to be held each May in Canada’s Cap­i­tal. A cel­e­bra­tion of the ar­rival of spring as well as a com­mem­o­ra­tion of the sig­nif­i­cance of the tulip and its wartime con­nec­tion in Canada, the fes­ti­val has grown each year to be­come the largest of its kind in the world, at­tract­ing over 500,000 vis­i­tors an­nu­ally.

In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing en­ter­tain­ment and ac­tiv­i­ties for all ages, the fes­ti­val has wel­comed no­table guests — in­clud­ing Queen Ju­liana, who vis­ited dur­ing Canada’s cen­ten­nial year in 1967, as well as Princess Mar­griet, who re­turned in 2002 for the 50th edi­tion of the an­nual event. To­day, over 1 mil­lion bulbs bloom through­out the Tulip Route.

As part of sus­tain­ing the friend­ship that links the Nether­lands and Canada, the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Com­mis­sion, as of­fi­cial gar­dener of Canada’s Cap­i­tal, is now re­spon­si­ble for plant­ing close to one mil­lion tulips ev­ery year in Canada’s Cap­i­tal Re­gion.

- See more at: http://tulipfes­ti­val.ca/about/tulip-legacy/#sthash.EE4dG8DC.dpuf

Vet­eran Gilles Roy speak­ing with school chil­dren at the plant­ing of the Dutch-Cana­dian Friend­ship Tulip Gar­den, last Fri­day, in Water­ville.

Water­ville mayor Nathalie Dupuis speak­ing at the tulip plant­ing.

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