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Biennial Thornhill event draws crowds for unique crafts and ‘gezelligheid’

Netherlands Bazaar raises near record amount

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THORNHILL, Ontario - The giant biennial volunteer undertaking, deemed to be the largest of all such endeavours in the postwar Dutch immigrant community in North America, has in its one-day event come within a hair of its 2009 record setting net result of $123,000. In far more difficult times than its previous edition, the Committee "Netherlands Bazaar" still raised $120,000 this year. Lead organizer Gé Spaans attributes the success of the Toronto-area event solely to the dedication of its numerous volunteers and a long list of sponsors, headed by DUCA Financial Services Credit Union Ltd., KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Verstraete Travel & Cruises. They offered as raffle prizes a term deposit of $1,500 and trips to the Netherlands (won by Jacqueline Johnston, the Harry Speelmans and Liz van Onlangs, respectively).

The bazaar has gained a reputation for being a source of beautiful range of hand-made crafts. Some of the crafts makers work year-round in their spare time on items they donate to the Bazaar, which Spaans call a wonderful example of Dutch community participation. Over the 50 plus years of existence, the bazaar has gained wide recognition as an event to be visited, even by those who specifically take it in from distant places.

Christmas parcels

Now that the Committee’s bank account has been replenished, it next will focus on creating a list of Ontario families with roots in the Netherlands who are in desperate needs. The Committee Netherlands Bazaar puts significant efforts in creating Christmas food parcels. To allow it time to plan this effort, its requests names and addresses of people who fall within its criteria by November 10.

Spaans emphasizes that its registered charitable standing was granted on the condition that all recipient families are of Dutch heritage. Even with this restriction we are always hard-pressed to meet the needs of those who qualify. Each year we have to carefully select the needy who will receive support. For each recipient a questionnaire has to be completed and signed by the contact person.