Burnaby company plants 10,000 tulips to commemorate Dutch liberation

A Burnaby-based operator of seniors’ homes is taking part in a national project to commemorate the liberation of the Netherlands by the Canadian military during the Second World War.

The New Chelsea Society will be planting 10,000 tulips at many of its various locations throughout Metro Vancouver, including 1,100 at its Chelsea Terrace location in Burnaby.

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The tulip project is being spearheaded by the Dutch Liberation Canadian Society, which intends to plant thousands of tulips in partnership with the B.C./Yukon chapter of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vancouver.

New Chelsea Society director of resident services and community development Derek Davidson said he and the society’s CEO came into the project by chance after the initiative was mentioned in passing. Davidson said the project felt like a good fit for the society.

“At one point there were a large number of Dutch and people from that region of Europe that were tenants” at one of New Chelsea’s properties, Davidson said. “There’s still a number of tenants there from that region.”

Beyond that, the society has a history with the Legion, one of the partners in the project – five local Legion branches in the Lower Mainland sponsored the opening of the New Chelsea Society more than six decades ago.

“It was kind of a melding of some common interest,” Davidson said of the tulip project.

One of the people who took the helm of the project within the New Chelsea Society, a semi-retired site manager, has memories of the Dutch liberation, Davidson added.

There’s not much to see right now, but come spring, thousands of tulips will bloom throughout the Lower Mainland, in time for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Dutch liberation. To celebrate, the Dutch Liberation Canadian Society will be holding events in Vancouver between April and July 2020 with a focus on education.

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