Speech by Princess Margriet at the Holland Christian Homes, Brampton, Canada

Good morning.

How good to be back in here! Thank you for your very warm welcome! I presume that the tenants and residents of today are not the same as the ones 30 years ago!

So not many here will remember the previous occasion when we were here for the ground breaking ceremony for the – then –  new nursing home.

I cannot promise that I will be back in 30 years for yet another ceremony. My age is no secret as I was born in Ottawa during the Second World War…

The safe and warm refuge Canada provided for my mother, my sisters and myself has had a lasting effect on our relationship with Canada and the Canadians.

The decisive role Canadian soldiers have played in the liberation of the Netherlands is always remembered, especially in the month of May, the month in which the Netherlands were liberated.

Many thousands Dutch men and women have emigrated to Canada and many – too – to this area. This route to Canada was taken by several of you in this very room.

The contributions made by the more than one million people of Dutch descent living in Canada are highly valued, and are of benefit to both our countries.

The ties binding our two countries are strong and lasting, they have grown over time and continue to do so. A tangible token of our gratitude are the tulips that bloom every spring in Ottawa!

So we don’t mention age here although age has everything to do with today’s event.

We are all getting older (so we are told) and the tendency is to stay as independent as possible - as long as possible. In the past decades the needs and the policies have changed and the environment for the residents has to be adapted to new realities and possibilities in care.

We see that too elsewhere and certainly in the Netherlands.

A ground breaking ceremony may also symbolise ground breaking new ideas for the care for the elderly, creating a peaceful haven for a community that includes many residents who are from the Netherlands, or are of Dutch descent.

On the firm ground of your roots and pursuing your ideals I wish you, your team of doctors and nurses and the future residents a pleasant and warm new home.

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