A royal gesture
Local company matches gift of tulips by Dutch royal family during Second World War
Every year close to one million tulips are planted in Ottawa, a tradition started after the Dutch royal family sent Canada 100,000 tulip bulbs in recognition of Canada’s role in liberating the Netherlands during the Second World War in 1945.
Seventy years later, a Prince Edward Island company is matching the donation and sending 100,000 tulip bulbs to 140 gardens across the country.
Veseys is the biggest tulip bulb company in the country, receiving millions of bulbs annually and with clients in every province in Canada and every state in the United States.
John Barrett, director of sales, marketing and development at Veseys, said making this donation is a form of thanks to the Dutch people for their support over the years, and to the Canadian people who have continued to support the Vessey business for 76 years.
“We are just very proud to do it,” said Barrett. “We just thought it was a fitting thing… We have very close ties with Holland.”
The 100,000 bulbs will go to 140 tulip gardens across the country with each garden receiving 700 red and white tulips to represent the colours of the Canadian flag.
They would have shipped red, white and blue for the Netherlands flag but there are no blue tulips, laughs Barrett.
Veseys will also be donating 7,000 red and white tulips to the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa.
Any community garden, town or institution that would like to apply for this friendship tulip garden can do so by filling out a form through the Canadian Garden Council at www.canadagardenroute.ca.
The gardens will be distributed on a pro-rated population basis so they are distributed evenly, Barrett said.
“We are trying to encourage people that during the planting time this fall that they involve children and, if at all possible, they might involve some veterans.”
Canada Post has also come on board by offering to cover the costs to send these flower gardens across the country.
“They loved the concept,” said Barrett. “They loved that it commemorated the Dutch royal family and Canada’s involvement in the liberation.”
Barrett said this anniversary is a special one, noting that by the time of the 80th or 90th anniversary rolls around, there will probably be no Second World War veterans left.
“Now is the time, while there are still people who can actually remember the event.”
John Barrett, director of sales, marketing and development at Veseys, says the company is donating 100,000 red and white tulip bulbs to 140 gardens around the country to mark the 70th anniversary of Canada’s role in liberating the Netherlands during the Second World War. Community gardens can apply for the free bulbs through Canadian Garden Council at www.canadagardenroute.ca.
Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard with their daughters Beatrix and Margriet outside St. Andrew’s Church in1943.
Canadian soldiers in the Netherlands during the Second World War.