The Liberation 75 Commemorative Garden
Canadian soldiers bravely battled in Europe, leading the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. 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. From September 1944 to April 1945, the First Canadian Army fought Nazi forces on the Scheldt estuary, opening the port of Antwerp for Allied use.
The First Canadian Army then cleared northern and western Netherlands, allowing food and other relief to reach millions of desperate people. Air drops of food were coordinated by the Royal Canadian Air Force over Nazi-occupied Dutch territory in Operation Manna. Dutch Civilians wrote “Thank You Canadians!” on their rooftops in grateful response.
Princess Juliana gifted 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canadians for their role in liberating the Dutch and providing refuge for her family during the war. Princess Juliana came to Canada with her husband Prince Bernhard, and daughters Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene.
The Netherlands has presented Canada with 20,000 bulbs every year since then, thereby creating the inspiration in 1953 for the very first Canadian Tulip Festival, a symbol of friendship between nations and a celebration of spring renewal in the National Capital Region.
The Liberation 75 Commemorative Garden - Haliburton Cenotaph
Planting of the bulbs - October 23, 2019
Every year, the Dutch Royal Family and the people of the Netherlands send tulip bulbs to Canada. This is part of a tradition which dates back to the Second World War.
In 2020, Canadians were invited to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by proudly planting the commemorative “Liberation 75” tulips.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 129 Haliburton received permission from Dysart et al to use a portion of the garden at the Cenotaph at Highland and York Street for this special garden and had the gardens prepared for planting by Jim Elstone and staff.
Haliburton County Master Gardeners, Carolyn Langdon and Winnie Kasepchuk and Haliburton Legion member, Lynn Pitman planted a “Drift of Tulip” garden with 60 orange and yellow Liberation 75 tulip bulbs and 40 purple Grape Hyacinth bulbs on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. A white stone has been placed at the front of the garden. In the spring, once the plants have bloomed, there will be a dedication of the Haliburton Legion’s Liberation of Netherland 75th Garden and a brass plaque will be placed on the stone.