KLM Hosted 5th Annual Dutch Heritage Month

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By A Correspondent

KLM hosted the 5th Annual Dutch Heritage Month celebration at Toronto Pearson Airport.

May is historically a significant month for the Dutch- Canadian community, numbering about 500,000 in Ontario, out of 1,035,965 as per Canada 2006 Census.

After World War II, a large number of Dutch immigrants moved to Canada, including a number of war brides of the Canadian soldiers who liberated the Netherlands. There were officially 1886 Dutch war brides to Canada, ranking second after British war brides.

On May 5, 1945, the Canadian forces were instrumental in liberating the Netherlands from occupation during World War ll.

This year, KLM Toronto celebrated not only Dutch Heritage Month but also the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Holland. To commemorate this special year, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were  on a state visit to Canada from May 27 to May 29.

The event  opened with a welcome speech by Karan Deswal , Director Stations Toronto and Western Canada , followed by Steven Larkin , Director Sales for Air France, KLM, Delta Airlines, Alitalia in Canada. Other speakers were: Patrick Neville, Senior Vice President, GTAA and Elizabeth Witmer.

Guests were treated to Heineken on tap, selection of wines and beverages, cheese, appetizers, salads,  sandwiches and a variety of desserts. As in past years, KLM’s sponsors and vendors were instrumental in the success of this festive occasion by offering their products and services.

Other guests included the current President and CEO of the GTAA , Howard Eng, as well as the two former CEOs, Elizabeth Witmer, a former Ontario MPP, who introduced the Bill on November 5, 2010 and piloted it through the Provincial Parliament, proclaiming May as Dutch Heritage Month in March 2011.

One of the invited guests, Theo Luykenaar, owner and publisher of a local Dutch newspaper, displayed artifacts and memorabilia and gave an informative and lively presentation on the role of aviation during the war and subsequent liberation of Holland.

With the speeches over, a surprise presentation was initiated by a prominent member of the ground handling community. Gary Ogden presented Karan Deswal with a plaque bearing a picture of old Toronto Terminal 1, on behalf of the airport community in recognition of the service and contributions made by Karan Deswal in the airport community.

The successful event was capped with a cake cutting ceremony, officiated by Karan Deswal and Eliizabeth Witmer,

All the guests were offered a gift bag and small bouquet of tulips.

JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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