Thursday, 4 May, 2006
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The plans are approved, the bells ordered.
Now, Southwestern Ontarians of Dutch background -- working to commemorate Canada's liberation of the Netherlands -- are scrambling against time to pay for the September installation of an 18-bell carillon in Victoria Park.
"We need cash -- and quick," said Pieter Teunissen, one of the movers behind the veterans' memorial in London.
Tomorrow, May 5, is the 61st anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian soldiers after German occupation during the Second World War.
Many of those Dutch citizens, and their descendants, now live in the London region.
A group of them has decided the monument, to be located near the cenotaph in Victoria Park, would be a permanent and visible way to show gratitude to their liberators.
The plan is to erect the bells -- being cast at a 250-year-old foundry in the Netherlands -- on an eight-metre tower and to have a stone marker with a map of Dutch cemeteries where Canadian soldiers are buried.
The plan now is even grander than the 11-bell memorial the group first proposed.
"It is our gift, first to the veterans and then to the city," Teunissen said.
He said he hopes the stainless-steel, maintenance-free carillon can be installed by mid-September, in time for Legion Week.
"That day, we want to have it working and we'll push a button and it'll play O Canada (for the veterans)," he said. (It will also be capable of playing 72 other tunes.)
The catch now is cash.
So far they've raised about $12,000, far short of the memorial's $200,000 to $250,000 cost.
Teunissen pegs the shortfall on lack of awareness by potential donors and is asking Southwestern Ontarians of Dutch descent to contribute.
Area veterans' groups and London city council have approved the plan.
The plan is also detailed online at
HOW TO DONATE
- Tax-deductible donations for the memorial can be made to the Royal
Canadian Regiment Trust Fund, Attention: Veterans' Memorial Fund, c/o 118
Woodrow Cres., London, Ont., N6E 1E8
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