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Jack has created various ties includig the Canada Netherlands Friendship ties to celebrate and show the long friendship between both countries.

Anne Frank:

Jack van der Laan,with Anne (Maggie Blake) at the Avon Theatre in Stratford,Ontario,Canada. Jack is the founder and chair of the Canada Netherlands Friendship Associations ( www.cnfa.ca ) and hosted the event for the Dutch Canadian Community. "Anne Frank" was presented with the Canada Netherlands Friends tie

ANNE FRANK: I have asked myself again and again whether it wouldn't have been better if we hadn't gone into hiding, if we were dead now and didn't have to through this misery, especially so that the others could be spared the burden. But we all shrink from this thought. We still love life, we haven't yet forgotten the voice of nature, and we keep hoping, hoping for...everything. (Anne Frank Diary entry, May 26,1944)

Burlington Tourism

Friendship Ties


Aldershot Heroes Named to Honour Roll

Media Release - For immediate release: May 10, 2013

Jack van der Laan has made invaluable contributions to Burlington and its reputation inside and outside of Canada. As a Dutch immigrant in the early 1970s, he established a successful men's clothing business here in Burlington. Jack founded and leads the Canada Netherlands Friendship Association. The CNFA encourages the continued friendship between the two countries, which dates back to World War II. As a result of his hard work with the CNFA, Jack was instrumental in creating the twinning of the City of Burlington with the City of Apeldoorn in 2005.

These 2013 honourees will join an Honour Roll that already includes Aldershot heroes such as former Mayor Walter Mulkewich, business leaders Jacob and Bill Cooke, French language leader Philippe Desjardins, columnist Mary Jane Boelhouwer and sportsman Frank Kretz. Each year, the Honour Roll provides financial support to the Aldershot School Music Program.

Former Mayor of Burlington and Aldershot resident Rob MacIsaac will emcee the event at the annual wine and cheese reception on Tuesday, May 28th at Mercedes-Benz Burlington from 7-9 pm

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May 28, 2013 Reception at Mercedes Benz Dealership Burlington
Intro by MC former Mayor Rob MacIsaac - re Jack van der Laan - Aldershot Honour Roll Inductee

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Intro speech by Linda Cupido - Member of the Aldershot Honour Roll steering Committee

It is my honour and privilege to introduce and tell you why this honouree is truly worth of this award.

Jack van der Laan did not experience the hardships and horrors of the German occupation of the Netherlands.

Nor did he witness the outburst of relief and joy and especially gratitude that greeted the long-awaited arrival of the Canadian liberators.

The guns of the Second World War had been silent for seven years already when Jack was born in the northern Dutch village of Harkema.

When he was in grade school, the name Canada was mentioned so often that Canada seemed to be almost next door.

Then he was old enough to understand what his parents, school and other grownups around him frequently talked about that he then began to learn of the struggles and terrible happenings of the recent past and the courageous efforts and sacrifices of the Canadian soldiers in restoring their freedom.

When he was sixteen years old his parents paid for a trip for him to come to Canada to see family.

And, of course he was looking forward to such a trip after hearing of all the good things that he had heard about our country and what the Canadian soldiers had done for Holland.

Yes, he came and lucky for us - he fell in love with Canada. He even put a Canadian flag sticker across the rear window of the little car he bought when he was eighteen years old.

Family and others who knew Jack were not totally surprised when he did announce a few years later that he was returning to Canada and planning to make it his home. That was 1972. In 1978 he became, like his father before him, an independent clothier when he purchased Filman's Men Wear in Burlington. Here Jack focuses on building lasting relationships with his customers and with his community.

In 1979 he married Theresa and they have lived in Aldershot for over 34 years, and raised their three children, Andrew, Cobi and Joel here

Many who came to know Jack well were not surprised when he organized an annual community celebration to recognize the close bond between Canada and the Netherlands.

His mission was to make everyone aware of the Netherlands gratefulness to Canada. So in 1995, which was the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Holland, he helped arrange to have the Netherlands flag flown at City Hall.

The Canada-Netherlands Friendship Day came into being in May 1997 with the issuance of a proclamation by the mayor of Burlington, a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall and a special evening of entertainment in the pavilion at LaSalle Park.

This event proved to be so popular and grew to the scope for the need for a larger venue.

The Royal Botanical Gardens in 2005 became the beautiful facilities for this event for many years.

Not only does he advertise beautiful clothes on racks and tables in his store -but he has posters and other memorabilia of the Canada-Netherlands Friendship Days placed throughout.

Be sure to look at the two versions of the Canada-Netherlands friendship tie that Jack himself designed and created. Jack has delivered one of his ties to Prime Minister Jean Chretien and to Dutch conductor Andre Rieu following a concert in Montreal.

Jack also spearheaded the drive to have Burlington twinned with Apeldoorn, the Dutch city that celebrates its liberation by Canadian Troops with a huge parade of veterans and other ceremonies every five years. These two cities had already enjoyed a close relationship. And our own Burlington Teen Tour Band has participated in a number of the commemorations in Apeldoorn. This exchange attracts many visitors from Holland to our country, strengthening our economy and making for numerous cultural exchanges.

He has been a member of Burlington's Mundialization Committee and chaired the Apeldoorn Subcommittee for several years. In 2010 he received the Burlington Tourism Ambassador award and is a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, as well as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal on July 1st, 2012.

As a grateful Aldershot resident - I would like Jack to come forward to accept his plague.

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