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The book tells of an adventurous, gregarious, intelligent woman and her hardships, joys and family. Sibylla was born in 1918 in Deventer, the Netherlands. Her spirit of independence and hard work helped her survive WW11 by pursuing many jobs during the war and after, such as delivering government documents throughout the Netherlands, working for the British Censorship, and even importing and selling cigarettes using suitcases.

She immigrated to Canada with her husband in 1948 to establish Ontario’s largest garden center, Humber Nurseries Ltd., while raising four children. The book is written by her daughter, who chronicles all the stories of her mother’s life, to create a remarkable novel. The stories are full of humour, sadness, and wonderful travel adventures and illustrate the beauty of generations of family bonds.

Charlotte Urbanc


  • Marian Janssen
    Posted June 2, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    These are the moving memories of nonagenarian Sibylla, looking back at her life. One Story At A Time: the story of being brought up in the Dutch town of Deventer, the story of her adventures during World War II, her marriage to a horticulturist and their move to Canada – as the Netherlands had become too small for them. In her own voice (chronicled by her daughter) we experience, with Sibylla, the many ups and downs of their lives as extremely hard-working entrepreneurs. Building their business, they also build a family. Her love for family and friends, both back in Canada and in the Netherlands, runs like a golden thread through these vivid stories.

  • Marian Janssen
    Posted June 10, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    When an opportunity floats by, most people don’t see it. But Sibylla did. She recognized an opportunity and turned it into a fulfilled dream. It does not come easily nor free. It takes lots of love, sweat and hard work, always with a clear vision. On the top rungs of the ladder of life and success, Sibylla tells her daughter Astrid, her life’s story. The book is written in the voice of Sibylla, correlated and edited by Astrid. A true labour of love and a must-read!
    Suzanne Sanson

  • Camille Sundue
    Posted June 11, 2022 at 12:39 am

    Astrid raconte l’histoire impressionnante d’une femme intelligente, courageuse et visionnaire, celle de sa maman. Ce pourrait être aussi et quelque peu l’histoire de milliers de gens qui ont quitté leur pays après la 2è guerre mondiale pour s’installer au Canada. Beau témoignage qui devrait être lu par les jeunes générations. Félicitations!

  • Freda Kemp
    Posted August 2, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    I really enjoyed this book. I t was wonderful to hear all the stories of this remarkable woman. From WWII through to her life in Canada and her travels her life was never dull. Thanks to Astrid for sharing the amazing stories of her one-of-a-kind Mom.

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