by Rhonda Massad
A member of the Black Watch, Dorval’s Retired Master Warrant Officer Rick Cartmel joined hundreds of Montrealers at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on April 27 to celebrate the King’s Birthday. The eighth annual celebrations hosted by Michael Polak, Honorary Consul of The Netherlands in Montreal is seen as Dutch community uniter. Attendees were adorned in orange in honour of Netherland’s King Willem-Alexander, whose birthday is on April 27.
As it turns out, orange is a symbol of the Dutch royal family, which uses the name “House of Orange-Nassau.” The national flag and the colors red, white, blue and orange are widely displayed on King’s Day. Many people make a special effort to wear an orange item of clothing, to dye their hair orange or to color their faces orange.
“I am not Dutch,” Cartmel said in an interview. “I am more Scotish than anything else. I am a member of the Black Watch, and they have an outstanding relationship with the Dutch Community. We have been there (Holland) quite a few times on tours. We do battlefield tours. We are running one for 2018 right now. We organize tours with the people in Holland – It is wonderful to be there. I feel so at home there.”
Host Michael Polak,Honorary Consul of The Netherlands in Montreal, graciously thanked sponsors and members of the core but most notably the members of the military.
“I want to thank the men and women who gave service to our country and the members of the different regiments that are here tonight,” Polak said. “Especially, in this 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. We know Canada had a tremendous role in liberating Holland in WWII. If you go to many of the regiments in Dutch towns, you can see the names of many Canadians who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Today those graves are still tended by very dedicated Dutch people and who will likely be doing that in 100 years from now.”
Mr. Okill Stuart, 96 years old, is a Second World War Veteran who took part in the D-Day landing and the Battle of Normandy
Landed at D-Day was on hand with smiles and jokes.
Helena Mitchell Remmerswaal, 101 years old was the Queen of this year’s event. Helena came to Canada as a 1946 War Bride who returned faithfully to Holland every year until she is 95.