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Canadian donor surprises Liberation Woods with Maple Leaf seeds

Foundation appeals to community for help

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

GRONINGEN, the Netherlands – Foundation Liberation Woods Groningen wants residents of the city’s care centres for the aged to grow up to 40,000 maple leaf seedlings. The call for help also has gone out to schools. The foundation, which unexpectedly received the seeds from a Canadian donor, does not have the manpower to grow the seedlings themselves and is making a community project from the donation.

The Liberation Woods in Groningen are part of the city’s district park Noorddijk and are home to 32,000 Maple trees, which are Canada’s national symbol. Designed in 1995, Queen Beatrix and Canadian Governor General Romeo Leblanc each planted an ‘esdoorn’ tree in the Liberation Woods on March 22, 1996.

The woods are a lasting acknowledgment of the Canadian sacrifices in the hard fought liberation of the city of Groningen, on April 13 through 16, 1995. Many Canadians died in securing the freedom of the northeastern-most largest city and province in the Netherlands just weeks before the Germans surrendered early May. In the Battle of Groningen, Polish and Belgian troops and the Dutch resistance aided the Canadians who were commanded by Gen. A.B. Matthews.

The original 32,000 trees were sponsored by individuals who each received a certificate as acknowledgment. The Liberation Woods also has a plaque listing 24 Canadian army units. Walking trails, lined by educational markers, meander through the six hectare wood lot.

The foundation hopes to plant the additional trees in the woods, next year.