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Dutch emigrants honour liberators with 18-bell carillon
Enhancement London Veterans Park
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
LONDON, Ontario – Local Dutch Canadian involvement with Canadian war veterans goes back decades and is about to get a huge boost on September 22, when the community unveils and dedicates an 18-bell carillon at the city’s Veterans Garden, across the street from City Hall. Cast in the Netherlands by specialized foundry Eysbouts, the bells will be mounted on an 8-metre high stainless-steel pole made by a local manufacturer.
The weight of the bells of the memorial carillon ranges from 11 to 45 kilograms. The carillon will play from a selection of 70 tunes stored on a dedicated computer, operated by remote control. The advanced technological installation has a budget of about $150,000. Fundraising is continuing with about $120,000 collected.
The idea for such a memorial first was raised at the meeting of a committee which organized local celebrations for the sixtieth anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. With input from the community, the one-bell plan evolved to one for nine, then 11 and eventually settled at 18. The bells will hang from three stainless steel rings attached to a pole embossed with maple leafs.
London-artist Gerard Pas designed the monument, a V-shaped piece of black granite with the word “victory” on it, which will sit beside the carillon pole, forming a broken “N” with another stone bearing various engravings.
Explaining his creation, Pas sees the brokenness of war turning into victory and healing upon regaining liberty from a fascist regime.
In a Canadian-led campaign through the Netherlands, the Allies largely bypassed German soil in their drive to reach the strategic area of North Germany ahead of the advancing Soviets. The bond between the Netherlands and Canada has cemented since the Liberation in 1945, often through additional initiatives by Dutch emigrants and their families in Canada.
Local area Dutch Canadians regularly visit veterans hospital and attend events at Royal Canadian Legion branches. Each year, the Dykehoppers band takes its music to the hospital in May and November, near the memorial days of both countries.
Anyone wishing to contribute to this project, is invited to send a cheque to: The Royal Canadian Regiment Trust Fund, Veterans Memorial Fund, 118 Woodrow Cres, London, Ontario N6E 1E8. Additional information can be found at www.veteransmemorial.ca.