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Clearview's Tulip bloom celebration marks liberation of Holland

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Nearly 80 years after the liberation of Holland, Clearview Township is doing its part to mark the occasion.

On Thursday, the township celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Stayner Garden Club with their Tulip Bloom Celebration, with the flower sharing a double meaning.

"As a special gift in 1945, the Dutch government provided tulips to the city of Ottawa and to the Canadian people," Said Amanda Murray, Clearview Townships Culture and Tourism coordinator.

The flower has also become a symbol of the liberation of the Netherlands.

For one Canadian Armed Forces veteran who grew up in Germany, the tulip is a bright flower with dark memories.

"At the end of the war, I was twelve years old," said Manfred Leimgaret, with the Grey and Simcoe Foresters Brigade. "We were one of the dumb kids standing on the side roads watching things go by."

In 2014, Leimgaret travelled to his wife's homeland of Holland. While she visited family, he visited a local cemetery.

"There is over 2,000 Canadian boys buried, and that strikes a note," he said.

Many residents and veterans celebrated the Garden Club and its relationship with the Dutch community. Leimgaret said he spent hours at that cemetery noting the gravestones of young men from Simcoe County who never got to go back to the country he now calls home.

"I don't know if it was the imagination," he added. "But you could hear the boys whispering, talking to each other."

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