The Liberation of the Netherlands 70th anniversary is celebrated in Toronto by the Dutch community and the Canadians during a spectacular parade from the Moss Park Armoury to Nathan Phillips Square City Hall. From Queen Street and Jarvis to Young and Dundas crowds gather with Dutch flags to wave their thanks commemorating the Canadian Liberators of the Netherlands.
Veteran Sir Fred Heber at 93 years is representing the boys and men of the 12th Field Royal Canadian Artillery Regiment who fought the battles of the Liberation for the Netherlands. His buddy Tom Morris also of the 12th Field, could not be there for the ceremonies but is proud of Fred riding in the WWII RECCE.
Special thanks to the Royal Canadian Legion of Orangeville who made it possible for Fred to be there.
From Veterans Canada:
A Joyous Welcome
The Dutch people cheered Canadian troops as one town after another was liberated. This was a memorable time for the people of the Netherlands. Recalled one Dutch civilian who was a teenager at the time of the Canadian liberation of The Hague: “As the (Canadian) tank came nearer…there was a big hush over all the people, and it was suddenly broken by a big scream, as if it was out of the earth. And the people climbed on the tank…and they were crying. And we were running with the tanks and the jeeps all the way into the city.”
The fighting in the Netherlands was often bitter but ultimately the Canadians were able to liberate the Dutch people and help bring the Second World War to an end in Europe. This victory, however, came at a terrible cost. More than 7,600 Canadians died in the efforts to free the country and are buried far from their homes and loved ones. Others returned home with injuries to body and mind that they carried for the rest of their lives.
The great bravery and sacrifice of Canadians were not the only help our country gave the Netherlands during the war. Some members of the Dutch royal family found sanctuary in Canada during the war and Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa in 1943. These powerful connections helped form warm bonds of friendship and respect between the Dutch and the Canadians which continue to this day. Evidence of this enduring connection may be seen in the tulips—gifts from the Netherlands—which bloom in Ottawa each spring and in the care and attention bestowed by the Dutch people on the burial places of our war dead. Even though the cost of lives was heavy and the sacrifice great, Canadians are proud to have been cast in the role of liberators.
Canada Remembers Program
The Canada Remembers Program of Veterans Affairs Canada encourages all Canadians to learn about the sacrifices and achievements made by those who have served—and continue to serve—during times of war and peace. As well, it invites Canadians to become involved in remembrance activities that will help preserve their legacy for future generations.