Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 4

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 4 (September 18, 2019) – Rotterdam and Haarlem

As Ottawa prepares its new Official Plan, our focus is to build a resilient city that is adaptable, sustainable and innovative, now and for many years to come. Rotterdam’s ambitious work on climate-proofing their city makes it an ideal place to learn and experience resilience in practice, such as the City delegation’s visit to the award-winning Water Squares(link is external), multi-use public plazas that collect storm water runoff. The City of Ottawa’s General Manager of Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development, Stephen Willis, also met with Rotterdam’s Chief Resilience Officer, Arnoud Molenaar, to discuss the future of sustainable cities.

Picture of one of Rotterdam’s Water Squares

On the way to Amsterdam, Mayor Watson made a stop at the Rudolf Steiner College in Haarlem, a town roughly 20 minutes outside of Amsterdam. This special visit came about approximately two weeks ago when grade 9 teachers Nina and Maartje sent an email to Mayor Watson to let him know how much their students had been moved by the story of his coming out. At the time, Nina shared that every student in her class was in the process of writing him a letter expressing sentiments of pride and well wishes in his newfound freedom. Two weeks ago, Nina and Maartje were not aware of the Mayor’s upcoming travels to the Netherlands.

On Sunday, upon his arrival in The Hague, those letters were waiting for Mayor Watson at the hotel. Today, Mayor Watson happily visited Nina and Maartje’s class in Haarlem. Approximately 35 students were in attendance: mostly grade 8 students, and a few older students who are openly gay at the school. They were all very much looking forward to sharing their stories with Mayor Watson, and it made for an emotional and memorable visit.


Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 3

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 3 (September 17, 2019) – The Hague & Eindhoven

As the mission continued in The Hague and Eindhoven, several important partnership agreements were signed to help strengthen our business and tourism connections.

The Hague to Ottawa (H2O) agreement is an MOU between the destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in the two cities to promote one another as destinations of choice, in order to attract new international conventions and business events. Ottawa Tourism and The Hague Convention Bureau will collaborate to open new doors for both capitals, pitching each other as gateway cities to North America and Europe. The business events industry in Canada generates $33 billion annually in direct spending and employs over 229,000 Canadians. In 2018, 16 per cent of events held in Ottawa came from the US or overseas markets, representing 9,700 delegates and 16,000 room nights contributing to Ottawa’s economy.

Ottawa Tourism is hoping to leverage the partnership to help attract up to four large meetings and conventions over the coming years, with the sectors of technology, security, defence and life sciences being particularly promising. They also hope to generate new leisure travel itineraries with tour operators, and positive media coverage in the Dutch market throughout the mission.

Group photo from the signing.

Invest Ottawa and The Hague Security Delta renewed an agreement to promote bilateral trade and investment, as part of their respective soft-landing for program for start-ups wishing to establish themselves in the partner market. The Hague Security Delta is one of the largest and continuously growing security networks of businesses, governments and knowledge institutes in Europe. With nearly 300 partners, it is recognized as the security port to Europe. This agreement ensures that Ottawa is connected with the European leaders in security and will result in knowledge sharing, promotion and partnership opportunities for Ottawa’s security sector firms, which are always seeking new opportunities to grow abroad.

Group photo from the signing.

The City of Ottawa, the University of Ottawa and Fontys University of Applied Sciences announced a partnership that will promote academic, economic and research mobility between Ottawa and the Netherlands. As one of the largest universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands, Fontys offers more than 200 academic programs in economics, technology, health care, social work, sports and teacher training to over 44,000 students. This agreement will establish research placements that will support the development of Ottawa’s Nightlife Economy Strategy, with Dutch students finding work placements at the City of Ottawa to conduct research and provide an external perspective on how to grow Ottawa’s nighttime economy, including the musical and cultural spaces that make our city an attractive place for young professionals.

Group photo from the signing, including students.

Many delegates then headed to Brainport, an innovation and business acceleration district in Eindhoven. Brainport – a technology and innovation hub similar to Kanata North in Ottawa – is a driver of Dutch exports and houses half of the national auto sector. This cluster presents opportunities for Ottawa to grow its relationship with companies operating in the Autonomous Vehicles space in the Netherlands by leveraging our Ottawa L5 AV cluster and test-track.


Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 2

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 2 (September 16, 2019) – The Hague & Apeldoorn

On the mission’s second day in The Hague, the day started off at the Canadian Embassy in the Netherlands, where Ambassador Sabine Nölke and her team offered the Ottawa delegation a crash course on doing business in the Netherlands, and highlighted the opportunities this represented as a gateway to Northwestern Europe and the European Union.

Later that day, Mayor Watson had the pleasure of meeting Her Royal Highness, Princess Margriet, in the city of Apeldoorn. Mayor Watson expressed his wish for the Princess to visit Ottawa in 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. The Mayor also proposed renaming Fairmont Park, which is in proximity to the Ottawa Civic Hospital, after Princess Margriet, to commemorate her history in Ottawa. Later this fall, the park will feature a dedicated Liberation75 tulip garden, where the City will plant 1,945 tulips, marking the year of the Liberation. The Mayor will bring forward a motion to City Council for the proposal, supported by Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper, when he returns from the mission. The City will receive comments from the public for a 10-day period, starting on September 25.

Ottawa’s special relationship with the Dutch Royal Family led to the creation one of Canada’s most popular and well-known festivals: the Canadian Tulip Festival.

The Dutch Royal Family took refuge here in Ottawa during the Second World War. In 1943, the Crown Princess Juliana gave birth to Princess Margriet at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Following the War, the Royal Family presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs as a sign of gratitude for its hospitality – and an additional 20,000 tulips in 1946 as a token of appreciation for Canada’s support and wartime efforts.

Canadian Tulip Festival

This tradition continues today, with the Netherlands sending 20,000 tulips each year to Ottawa as a symbol of friendship. Every spring, Ottawa welcomes tens of thousands of visitors from around the world to enjoy these beautiful tulips during the Canadian Tulip Festival. In 2020, the Netherlands will be marking the occasion by repeating the initial gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada.

The Mayor also laid a wreath at the statue De man met de twee hoeden, the twin to the Ottawa statue Man with Two Hats. The statues, created by Dutch artist Henk Visch, represent the strong ties between our countries and the crucial role that Canadian soldiers played in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. The Ottawa statue was gifted to our city by the Netherlands and unveiled by Princess Margriet during her visit to Ottawa in May of 2002.

The Mayor laying the wreath.

Beyond these ties, Mayor Watson also has a personal connection to the Netherlands, as his father, Beverley Watson, fought there during the Second World War. As a member of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Canada, he fought alongside our Canadian soldiers who led the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. These brave young men and women played a pivotal role in Northwestern Europe. The Royal Regiment is credited with liberating the city of Assen on April 13, 1945 before participating in the clearing of Groningen until April 15, some 20 days before the Netherlands was liberated from German occupation.

For his efforts, Beverley Watson was awarded the France and Germany Star, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp, and the 1939 to 1945 War Medal.

‘’I’m very proud of my father’s service to our nation, and it is an honour for me to visit the country where he served Canada and defended our freedom during the Second World War,’’ said Mayor Watson.


Mayor Watson meets Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, proposes park renaming in her honour

Ottawa – On the second day of Ottawa’s economic mission to the Netherlands, Mayor Jim Watson had the honour of meeting with Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet.

The Princess was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital (now known as The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus) in 1943, when the Dutch Royal Family took refuge in Ottawa during the Second World War. The Government of Canada temporarily declared a maternity suite at the Ottawa Civic Hospital to be extraterritorial jurisdiction, which meant the Princess could enjoy full Dutch citizenship and remain in the line of succession. In addition, the Dutch flag flew over Parliament’s Peace Tower in Ottawa on the day of Margriet’s birth; the only time in Canadian history a foreign flag has been accorded this honour. As the birthplace of the Princess and home of the Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa holds a special relationship with the Netherlands and the Royal Family.

Mayor Watson expressed his wish for the Princess to visit Ottawa in 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. The Mayor also proposed renaming Fairmont Park, which is in proximity to the Ottawa Civic Hospital, after Princess Margriet, to commemorate her history in Ottawa. Later this fall, the park will feature a dedicated Liberation75 tulip garden, where the City will plant 1,945 tulips, marking the year of the Liberation. The Mayor will bring forward a motion to City Council for the proposal, supported by Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper, when he returns from the mission. The City will receive comments from the public for a 10-day period, starting on September 25.

Quote

“On behalf of the City of Ottawa, it would be an honour to welcome Princess Margriet back to her birthplace to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian forces. We hope to build on our 75 years of friendship with the people of the Netherlands by commemorating Ottawa’s special connection to the Dutch Royal Family.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“The Canadian Tulip Festival is very pleased with the renaming of the park in honour of Princess Margriet and as a symbol of our longstanding friendship with the people of the Netherlands. We look forward to seeing this magnificent bed of Liberation75 tulips paint the park orange next spring, as we mark these events that unite our two countries.”
Grant Hooker, Chair, Canadian Tulip Festival

Quick facts:

  • In 1940, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and the Dutch Royal Family was evacuated to London, England.
  • Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina sent her heir, Crown Princess Juliana, and the Princess’ two daughters to Canada. They spent five years in Ottawa and became a part of the community.
  • In 1943, the Crown Princess gave birth to her third daughter, Princess Margriet, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
  • Immediately following the War, Crown Princess Juliana presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs in gratitude for the hospitality provided by the city. In 1946, she sent an additional 20,000 tulip bulbs as a token of appreciation for Canada’s support and wartime efforts.
  • To this day, the Netherlands continues to send a gift of tulips each year to Ottawa as a symbol of international friendship.
  • The Canadian Tulip Festival was established in 1953 to celebrate the historic gift of tulips from the Dutch Royal Family. The Festival has commemorated this gift and its history each spring for the last 68 years.
  • The Festival, which takes place in May of each year (May 8–18, 2020), commemorates the crucial role that the Canadian Armed Forces played in the Liberation of the Netherlands and Europe, as well as the birth of Princess Margriet in Ottawa—the only royal personage ever born in Canada.
  • To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands, the Canadian Tulip Festival - together with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the National Capital Commission - have launched the Liberation75 Tulip Campaign.
  • The Campaign will result in the planting of 1.1 million Liberation75 Tulips across Canada in honour of the 1.1 million Canadians who served during the Second World War.

Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 1

September 15, 2019

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 1 – The Hague

Mayor Watson started the mission in the Netherlands with a meeting with Mayor Pauline Krikke of The Hague, where they discussed their special bond as capital cities, and Mayor Krikke’s previous visit to Ottawa. The two mayors also exchanged best practices on transit and active transportation, and on the challenges that both cities face with respect to affordable housing.

Mayor Krikke, Mayor Watson

In The Hague, as in every city the delegation will visit, the mission’s goals are to:

  • Promote Ottawa as the ideal destination for leisure tourism, events and conventions;
  • Open doors for business partnerships in key areas like autonomous vehicles, technology and defence; and
  • Share best practices in flood prevention, affordable housing, active transportation and the nightlife economy.

Ottawa has a long history of cooperation and friendship with the Netherlands. As the birthplace of Princess Margriet of the Dutch Royal Family and home of the Canadian Tulip Festival, we enjoy a special bond that is strengthened by our economic and cultural ties. The Netherlands is Canada’s fifth largest European trading partner and second largest source of foreign direct investment. And we have much more in common, including our beautiful natural surroundings, strong innovation and technology sectors, and shared values of diversity and inclusion.

To kick off the mission, the delegation gathered for the first time in the Netherlands to learn more about each other and about their objectives throughout the mission.

Delegation

Welcome aboard the O-Train Confederation Line

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson today marked the official opening of O-Train Line 1, the Confederation Line, with the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation for the Province of Ontario, and special guests. They were joined by local officials, Indigenous leaders, City of Ottawa employees, members of the Rideau Transit Group and the children and youth who provided the winning train name submissions gathered at the Tunney’s Pasture Station for the occasion.

Guests were welcomed and blessed by Albert Dumont, Elder and Spiritual Advisor for the Algonquin, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. Following the formal portion of the ceremony, officials symbolically turned on the power to the system and all participants boarded the train for a ceremonial ride along the full length of the O-Train Confederation Line.

The opening of the Confederation Line is the culmination of decades of discussion, consultation, planning and construction. Since the existing O-Train Line 2, the Trillium Line, first opened in 2001, light rail transit ridership has exceeded expectations. In 2006, the City began to create plans for an expanded light rail system that would connect Ottawa’s communities and support sustainable growth across Ottawa. Council approved the Confederation Line project in December 2012 and construction began in 2013. The Confederation Line was built by the Rideau Transit Group, which won the contract to design, build and finance the project, and to maintain it for the next 30 years.

The O-Train Confederation Line is a $2.13-billion transit project that is jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa. The 12.5-kilometre line connects 13 stations from Tunney's Pasture Station in the west to Blair Station in the east. The world-class transit system also features four underground stations, including Lyon, Parliament and Rideau in the downtown core, and St-Laurent in the east. With trains arriving every five minutes or less, it is expected to carry up to 10,700 passengers per hour in each direction during weekday peak periods, making it the busiest light rail transit line in North America. With expansions to the east, west and south of Ottawa already in progress through the Stage 2 project, more and more Ottawa residents and businesses will be connected to a reliable light rail system.

The transformation of the transit system to make the light rail line its spine is the biggest transit service change in Ottawa’s history. To help customers through this period, OC Transpo will continue to operate buses on their current routes for three weeks following the opening of O-Train Line 1, giving everyone time to make the transition and the opportunity to try riding the new train. On October 6, a major bus network service change will be made to align bus routes with O-Train Line 1. Customers should use the Travel Planner at octranspo.com to find how their trip will change. More information about OC Transpo’s #reallybigservicechange will be included in the brochure that will be mailed to every household in Ottawa before October 6.

For more details, travel planning assistance, and new maps and timetables, customers should visit octranspo.com. Customers can also call OC Transpo at 613-741-4390 if needed. Customers can also visit any station on O-Train Line 1 for assistance. Real-time schedule information is available 24 hours a day by calling 613-560-1000, by texting 560560 plus the four‑digit bus stop number, or by using the OC Transpo iPhone app or one of many independent smartphone apps.

For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Quotes

 “The Government of Ontario is proud to play a part in bringing the Confederation Line to the people of Ottawa. That’s why we are investing $600 million in the project. The new O-Train Confederation Line will provide fast, clean and reliable transit for the people of Ottawa. Our government believes in building public transit to connect people to jobs and businesses.  Through projects like the new O-Train Confederation Line, we’re getting Ontario moving.”
Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, Government of Ontario

“I am delighted to welcome everyone in Ottawa to ride the O-Train Confederation Line. Today’s opening marks the transformation of Canada’s capital into a more connected and accessible city. The Confederation Line now connects Ottawa’s residents to the places they live, learn, work, shop and play. This world-class addition to our transportation system further enhances Ottawa’s standing as one of the best places to live in Canada and in the world.”
Mayor Jim Watson


Better Para Transpo experience on the way with online services

Ottawa — A proposed plan to provide online services for Para Transpo users will mean better service for customers starting at the end of 2019.

Councillor Allan Hubley, Chair of the City’s Transit Commission, and Jean Cloutier, Vice-Chair, today announced the proposed service improvements at City Hall. The Councillors outlined a two-stage project to make booking a Para Transpo trip easier. The full proposal will be detailed in a report to Transit Commission at its meeting on November 20, 2019.

In the first stage, customers would be able to book a Para Transpo trip using an online web form. This would be available by the end of 2019.

The second stage of the project would see OC Transpo working with its software supplier to develop a full suite of online services that would, among other things, allow customers to book, confirm or cancel trips using a computer, laptop, or mobile app on a smart phone, and to track the location of their trip. This full suite of online services would be in place by the end of 2020.

The strong demand for Para Transpo service has sometimes resulted in long phone wait times for customers. Offering online services is expected to reduce call volumes and therefore shorten wait times.

Both the Transit Commission and the Community and Protective Services Committee have this year asked for online services to be introduced as a way to improve the customer experience.

Quotes

‘’I am delighted that action is being taken by the Transit Commission and OC Transpo to provide online services for Para Transpo customers starting this year. Para Transpo is essential for residents who require the service to get around our city, and improving the customer experience for them is the City’s priority. We thank our Para Transpo customers for their patience as we work to improve the service.’’
- Mayor Jim Watson

‘’Para Transpo customers have experienced long wait times on the booking phone line. Using online technology will give people a more convenient option for booking their trips, while freeing up capacity on the phone system for those who wish to continue using it. I look forward to a full discussion of this report at Transit Commission in November.’’
- Councillor Allan Hubley, Chair, Transit Commission


Sue Garvey receives Key to the City of Ottawa

Ottawa – Mayor Watson today presented the Key to the City to Sue Garvey, in recognition of her illustrious and distinguished career spent improving the lives of women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Ms. Garvey is being acknowledged for her steadfast commitment to improve affordable housing and community development for women in Ottawa who are living in poverty.

Ms. Garvey has lived her entire life in the Ottawa area. In 1974, she graduated from Immaculata High School. She attended Carleton University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1977 and a Master of Social Work in 1988.

Ms. Garvey has worked for a variety of agencies in Ottawa, including the City of Ottawa, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, Pinecrest Queensway Community Services Centre and West End Community Ventures. She was the founding coordinator of Centre 507, a day program for those at risk of homelessness, and the founding Executive Director of Daybreak Non-Profit Housing. Ms. Garvey recently retired after 23 years with the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa as Executive Director of Cornerstone Housing for Women.

Quote

“Sue Garvey has dedicated her entire career to community development. Sue’s mission of hope has guided her work in building supportive and compassionate housing for some of Ottawa’s most vulnerable people. A lifelong resident of our city, she has made Ottawa a better place for all residents.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Key facts

  • The Key to the City is Ottawa’s most prestigious award.
  • The Key to the City was first presented in 1935 by His Worship Stanley Lewis to Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada, and his wife Lady Tweedsmuir.
  • Previous Key to the City recipients include author Margaret Atwood, photographer Yousuf Karsh, the Community Foundation of Ottawa and, more recently, actress Sandra Oh and retired hockey player Daniel Alfredsson.
  • The Key to the City was last awarded to Ron Caza.
  • The Key to the City is being presented to Ms. Garvey in recognition of an illustrious and distinguished career dedicated to improving the lives of women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless and a steadfast commitment to improve affordable housing and community development for women.

 


TELUS to provide free Wi-Fi and cellular service on O-Train Confederation Line

Commuters will enjoy access to Canada’s largest and fastest mobile network

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Allan Hubley, Chair of the Transit Commission, François Gratton, Group President TELUS and Chair TELUS Québec, and John Manconi, General Manager of Transportation Services, today announced that TELUS will provide free Wi-Fi service in the three downtown, underground Line 1 stations’ platforms, as well as door-to-door cellular service including through the downtown tunnel. The connection enables transit customers in Ottawa to access one of the most technologically advanced networks built in Canada for public transportation.

O-Train Confederation Line customers will be able to stay connected underground, as there will be a continuous cellular connection, including between stations and in the 2.5-kilometre tunnel, for all passengers.

The O-Train Confederation Line is a $2.13-billion transit project, jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa. Trains will carry up to 10,700 passengers per hour in each direction, between 13 stations. Trains will arrive every five minutes or less at the busiest times.

TELUS’ investment in the O-Train project is another example of its commitment to building a superior award-winning wireless network that benefits Canadians across the country. Since 2000, TELUS has invested more than $215 billion in network investments to enhance the coverage, speed and reliability of its world-leading network, and to connect its customers right across Canada.

For more information about the O-Train Confederation Line, visit octranspo.com/ready4rail.

Quotes

“Thanks to this great partnership with TELUS, I am pleased that our transit users will have free Wi-Fi in our downtown, underground light rail transit stations, and cellular service across the entire Confederation Line. Customers will be able to stay connected during their commute on our world-class, light rail transit system.”
Mayor Jim Watson

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with the City of Ottawa and look forward to contributing to the city’s largest infrastructure project since the Rideau Canal was built. TELUS is again proving its commitment to our nation’s capital by providing an award-winning network that will allow commuters to benefit from a 5G-ready mobile broadband network. We are thankful for the opportunity to leverage our expertise to create a superior customer experience for commuters travelling on one of the most technologically advanced light rail transit systems in Canada.”
François Gratton, Group President TELUS and Chair TELUS Québec


Mayor Watson launches Liberation75 Tulip Challenge, marking the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian forces

Ottawa — Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson issued a challenge today to the residents and businesses of the National Capital Region to use their lawns and gardens this fall to help “Paint the Town Orange” next May. Mayor Watson and the Canadian Tulip Festival are challenging residents to match the National Capital Commission’s October planting of 100,000 Liberation75 tulip bulbs, set for a springtime blooming in Canada’s capital. These special Liberation75 tulips are part of a national gardening program to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian led troops in 1944 and 1945.

To launch the campaign today, Mayor Watson purchased one of the first bags of 15 Liberation75 tulip bulbs, which he will be planting at home this fall. The City of Ottawa also purchased 300 bulbs – or 75 tulips per bed, which will be planted in front of the Heritage Building at City Hall to mark the 75 years since the liberation.

The goal of the Liberation75 planting initiative is to see 1.1 million brilliant orange, exclusively named Liberation75 tulips blooming across Canada next spring. The 1.1 million figure represents one bloom for each Canadian who served in the Second World War. In May of 2020, the world will mark the 75th anniversary of the Netherlands Liberation Day, which took place on May 5, 1945.

The planting initiative is being led by the Canadian Tulip Festival, in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the National Capital Commission, the Royal Canadian Legion and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The Dutch Embassy announced last May at the Canadian Tulip Festival that the Netherlands would be honouring Canada’s role in their country’s liberation by repeating their 1945 tulip bulb gift to Canada, this time with 100,000 Liberation75 bulbs to initiate the Liberation75 program.

Also supporting the commemorative planting campaign, the National Capital Commission has announced that they are matching the Dutch gift by purchasing 100,000 commemorative bulbs and planting them throughout the National Capital Region.

Mayor Watson is now issuing a challenge to the residents of the National Capital Region to double the NCC’s anticipated 100,000 regional Liberation75 blooms by purchasing and planting an additional 100,000 bulbs in residential yards and gardens on both sides of the river. The Mayor is asking residents and businesses to help “Paint the Town Orange” by planting tulip bulbs this fall in preparation for next spring’s joint Dutch-Canadian celebration of the liberation of the Netherlands and the end of the Second World War.

“Ottawa has a special reason to be involved in the effort to plant commemorative tulips in the nation’s capital and across Canada,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Canada’s capital played host to the Dutch Royal Family during the Second World War, while our soldiers were leading the fight for their liberation. In gratitude, Canada received 100,000 tulip bulbs from the Dutch Royal Family in 1945. That original gift led to the tulip becoming the official flower of Ottawa, but also to the tulip becoming the well-recognized symbol of the nation’s capital for all Canadians.”

Mayor Watson and Ottawa’s tourism community expect that a large number of Dutch travellers will visit the National Capital Region next spring to thank Canada for its war efforts, and he hopes those visitors will be greeted by a sea of orange tulips across the region.

Information on the Liberation75 commemorative planting initiative can be found on-line at Liberation75.ca.