News Articles

Wedding plans of fifty years ago upstaged by Hurricane Hazel

Inlaws flooded out

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

KING CITY, Ontario – Their October 1954 wedding day was upstaged by a natural calamity. Hurricane Hazel and a flood caused a two-week delay before Klaas van der Wal and Appie Keen could tie the knot. Instead of a ceremony at the Springdale Christian Reformed Church, which was flooded, they got married at the chapel of St. Andrews College in Toronto where the groom worked.

The Van der Wal couple with family and friends recently celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. The milestone prompted some reminiscing about years gone by. Among the happy moments also was the discovery that the ‘bride' still fitted her wedding dress, prompting the groom to chuckle he had fallen in love all over again.

The groom recalled taking a few days off from work just to help his inlaws-to-be get resettled after they were flooded out in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel which caused a huge amount of damage over a wide area. It left the largely Dutch immigrant settlement of Holland Marsh covered by several feet of water.

Van der Wal, now 78, left Tjerkwerd for Canada in 1950 after spending over two years with the Dutch army's ”1e divisie” in England where he was a wireless operator. While others were sent to the Dutch East Indies, he was transferred back to the Netherlands and soon after was discharged for medical reasons. His wife with her family left her native Dreiber in Drenthe for Canada in 1952.