The efforts of Canadians to liberate the Nazi-occupied Netherlands 75 years ago will be recognized with the blossoming of tulips in Haliburton next year.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 129 Haliburton is taking part in the Liberation75 celebration and planted a new tulip garden at the Haliburton cenotaph Oct. 23. The initiative from the National Capital Commission, the Canadian Tulip Festival and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands aims to have 1.1 million Liberation75 tulips blossom across Canada this spring, one for every Canadian who served during the Second World War.

Public relations officer Linda Heeps said it is good for a small community such as Haliburton to be recognized as part of a larger national effort.

“So, when they say where the bulb is planted, Haliburton is on that map,” Heeps said. “I just think it’s nice Haliburton does their part to respect what happened in the past and we’re part of the bigger picture.”

The tulip tradition began at the end of the Second World War after Canadian forces fought to liberate the  Netherlands between 1944 and 1945. Princess Julianna gifted 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canadians for their role. The country has gifted Canada 20,000 tulips every year since then.

Dysart et al permitted the legion to plant a garden at the cenotaph, which features 75 tulip and 40 purple Grape Hyacinth bulbs. Heeps said she originally wanted to have the garden outside the legion, but there were fears they would be ruined by deer which frequent the area.

To prevent that by the cenotaph, Heeps said the garden will have repellent regularly applied.

“Hopefully, the deer will be kind enough to leave them alone,” she said.

A white stone was placed in front of the garden, with a ceremony planned for the spring when the flowers blossom.

But the tulips will grow beyond the legion’s garden project. The Liberation75 initiative is offering bulbs for purchase by private citizens as well.

Local Jim Frost has ordered the tulips to add to his own garden. He said it was good for any Canadian citizen to take advantage of.

“This was a wonderful thing,” Frost said. “The relationship between Canada and Holland is wonderful and I just think we should be involved in helping celebrate.”

Tulips are still available for sale at liberation75.ca at 15 bulbs for $15, which come directly from Holland. For every bag sold, $1 will go to the Royal Canadian Legion while the remainder will support the Canadian Tulip Festival.

Heeps said she plans for the new tulip garden to become a permanent fixture.

“I plan for that garden to be there forever,” Heeps said. “Once the bulbs are established, they’ll just keep growing.”

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