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Cranbrook marks Dutch-Canadian relationship with new tulip garden

Cranbrook Garden Club successfully applies for 700 bulbs for Friendship Garden — tulips to be planted Thursday, Oct. 15
700 red and white tulips will be planted in Cranbrook Thursday.

Barry Coulter

A unique and special relationship between two countries will be celebrated next week, Thursday, Oct. 15, in Cranbrook.

The Cranbrook Garden Club will be planting a new, permanent 700-bulb tulip bed in Cranbrook, courtesy of Holland, to mark the ties between that country and Canada.

"This year is the 70th anniversary of the Dutch-Canadian Friendship Garden,"  said Debbie Sinclair, with the Cranbrook Garden Club. "The Dutch first gave to Canada 100,000 tulip bulbs in 1945, as a symbol of appreciation for the role Canadian soldiers played in the war, and for the hospitality Canada showed.

Canadian forces were key in the liberation of Holland from German occupation during the Second World War. And Canada hosted the Dutch Royal Family in exile during the war.

As an interesting note, Princess Margriet was born in exile while her family lived in Ottawa. The maternity ward of Ottawa Civic Hospital in which she was born was temporarily declared to be extraterritorial by the Canadian government, thereby allowing her citizenship to be solely influenced by her mother's Dutch citizenship. To commemorate the birth, the Canadian Parliament flew the Dutch flag over Peace Tower. This is the only time a foreign flag has flown over the Canadian Parliament Building.

Pictured: Princess Magriet of the Netherlands — born in Canada, sort of.

Sinclair said that this year being the 70th anniversary of the Tulip Festival, the Dutch decided they would provide the tulips to communities across Canada — normally they are sent to Ottawa.

"There were only 140 gardens available," Sinclair said. "400 communities applied, so we feel very fortunate to get one."

Cranbrook is one of 15 communities in B.C. to get the tulip garden.

Sinclair said the City of Cranbrook was very helpful in giving space for the 700 bulbs, which will every spring will blossom into red and white tulips. The bulbs will be planted near the intersection of King Street and Van Horn Street, in the space around the heritage locomotive on display, recently repainted by the Rotary Club. The bed for the tulips has been established around the Rotary International sign there, and Sinclair said the tulips will be a spectacular sight for both locals and motorists passing through.

The Garden Club will be planting the bulbs on Thursday, Oct. 15, starting at 1 p.m. Also taking part will be veterans with the Royal Canadian Legion and students from Gordon Terrace Elementary School — a good combination of young and old, Sinclair said. And the public is invited to attend.