A gift of hundreds of Tulips brightens the days of residents and staff at two long-term care centres

Residents, veterans and frontline workers at long-term care homes Sunnybrook Veterans Centre and Holland Christian Homes (HCH) received a beautiful gift of Spring on behalf of the Consulate-General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Toronto. Hundreds of tulips have been gifted between the two care homes, to be enjoyed by staff and residents.

Strong ties between Canada and the Netherlands

The unique bond between Canada and the Netherlands is deeply rooted in the shared history of the two countries. During the Second World War, Canada generously sheltered the Dutch Crown Princess Juliana and her Family in Ottawa, during which time Princess Margriet was born in 1943.

Following the end of the Second World War in 1945, when Canada had liberated the Netherlands, Princess Juliana presented Canada with 100,000 tulip bulbs as a gesture of gratitude. Since then, the tulip has become a symbol to represent the friendship between the Netherlands and Canada.

Close up of tulip
Image: ©Liberation75

Gift of the tulips

An ongoing gift of tulip bulbs has been generously gifted to Canada every year since, as a heartfelt ‘Thank you!’ to Canada and its World War II veterans for the important role they played in Europe and especially in liberating the Netherlands.

In September 2019, Princess Margriet renewed this gift of her mother’s when she presented Canadian Veteran Mr. Don White with a box of ‘Liberation75’ tulips, which symbolized the 100,000 tulip bulbs that the Netherlands presented to Canada for the year 2020, 75 years after Canada liberated the Netherlands.

Dutch Heritage Month & COVID-19

The month of May is proclaimed as “Dutch Heritage Month” in Ontario, in which normally several commemoration and celebration events take place, such as Remembrance Day, Liberation Day and Flag Raisings. The Consul-General Anne Le Guellec usually pays a visit to each home on several occasions, as they partner in many events. Unfortunately, all the special events and visits have now been cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bringing joy & cheerfulness

Holland Christian Homes in Brampton, with more than 80% of its residents of Dutch decent, has been especially hit hard by the outbreak. The coronavirus has infected residents and many caregivers as well, resulting in staffing shortages. This week the Canadian military began to offer staffing support in the long-term care home.

Le Guellec: “The residents and staff at the care homes are going through some very rough times, and on top of that the (usually brightening) events and visits had to be cancelled, so we really wanted to bring some joy & cheerfulness today by gifting lots of tulips”.

Everlasting Friendship

Now that it’s spring, the tulips are blooming throughout the country and we are witnessing a beautiful reminder of the noble sacrifices that were made for the liberation of Europe and the freedom of those around the world.

Since the end of the Second World War, 75 years ago, at least two things have remained constant – the lasting friendship between Canada and the Netherlands, and the tulip symbolizing the struggles and victories these countries have experienced together.

Tulips, sky and tower with flag