Civics lesson

Ontario flag

June is election month here in Ontario, so we decided it was a good time to hoist the provincial flag for the first time.

We picked up this flag at Value Village a few months ago. As you’ve seen before, we have a bit of a thing for flags, so it was neat to do some research into Ontario’s flag, which I actually didn’t know very much about.

Ontario’s flag is very British.

“It was traditional for jurisdictions around the world with a British system of government and way of life to adapt either a blue or red ensign as a flag, by adding the local coat of arms or some other symbol.” (Wikipedia)

The Red Ensign is a red flag with a small Union Jack in the upper left corner. For Ontario’s version, the local symbol is the provincial shield of arms.

“The shield of arms… consists of three golden maple leaves, representing Canada, on a green background.” At the top of the shield is the Cross of St. George. Many of the British loyalists who left the US during the American revolution came to Ontario. They were loyal to King George III, hence St. George’s Cross. (Wikipedia)

Ontario flag

Leaving aside the history lesson to look to the future, I want to encourage my Ontario readers to please vote. Election day is tomorrow, June 12. Voting is truly important.

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History lesson

A new flag is flying over the farm this week.

Pearson pennant

Forty-nine years ago, when Canada was deciding what its national flag should look like, this was one of the options.

Prime Minister Lester Pearson put out a call to Canadians, asking for them to submit ideas for a Canadian flag. Pearson’s own suggestion was for a flag with three red maple leaves bordered with blue bars on either edge–symbolizing Canada’s position as a sea-to-sea nation. Artist Alan Brookman Beddoe drew the actual design, which came to be known as the Pearson Pennant.

Throughout 1964, the government and citizens debated what was the best design for our flag. Eventually a submission from two men, George Stanley and John Matheson, was chosen as Canada’s official flag. Today, their design of a single red maple leaf between two red bars has become an iconic image, and the Pearson Pennant has become historical reference.

Feb. 15, 1965 is Flag Day in Canada, the first time the maple leaf flew as our nation’s official flag.

While it seems a bit backwards, this week we’re commemorating the flag debate by flying the Pearson Pennant.

Pearson Pennant

As a history buff, Matt has a special affection for the Pearson Pennant. For his birthday last year, I had one made for him, knowing that we’d soon have a flagpole and be able to fly it ourselves.

We’ll go back to the maple leaf soon enough, but for this week I don’t mind a little history lesson.

Thanks to Matt for helping to write this post. Happy Flag Day everyone.