Nunatsiavut, since 2003
Nunatsiavut is an autonomous Inuit region in northern Labrador, not to be confused with the nearby the territory of Nunavut. Like Nunavut, Nunatsiavut has an inukshuk on its flag. It’s rendered in the white, green, and blue of Labrador’s flag.
I’ve always thought this flag looks a bit funny. Almost like the individual rocks have a “waving flag” effect drawn on top of them or something.
Tlicho, since 2005
The Tlicho are a First Nations people living in the Canadian Northwest Territories. Their autonomous government, established by the 2005 Tlicho Agreement, manages an area nearly as big as Switzerland with just 3000 residents.
They’ve got a great flag up their, and you can see a bunch of pictures of it on their government website. The four tents on the flag represent the four Tlicho communities. The sun and the waves represent the words of the Chief Monfwi when he signed Treaty No. 11:
This sun that rises, if it does not go back on itself, this Great River that flows, if it does not flow back on itself, on this land, we will not be restricted from our way of life.
For as long as this land shall last, it will be exactly as I have said.
The proper way to spell their name, by the way, is Tłı̨chǫ. Count yourself lucky if your computer rendered that properly.
Ontario (unofficial), 1962-1965
When the Garden of the Provinces in Ottawa was opened in 1962, a set of unofficial flags were made to represent the country’s provinces and territories. Each flag had a provincial shield on a plain coloured background. The colours were arbitrary. Some were white, some red, some blue; PEI’s was green and Ontario’s was yellow. The flags soon spread beyond the garden and effectively became unofficial provincial flags.
Already in 1962 there were four provinces with flags of their own. By the end of the decade every province had one. But despite provincial reservations, the federal government continued flying the plain coloured flags until the mid 1970s. When Alberta finally adopted its flag in 1968 it just went with the plain blue flag from Ottawa, making it the last survivor of a weird and somewhat unloved group of Canadian flag designs.
Nunavik (proposed), 2013
A bold proposal for the flag of Nunavik (an Inuit region in northern Quebec) made the news up north last week. There’s a lot of symbolism packed in here so I’ll let the designer explain in his own words:
The logo is based on and inspired from natural elements in Nunavik such as animals and the thriving co-existence of different creatures living in the same area. A shape of a bird with feathers reaching the sky indicate self-governance and freedom, the large wings show strength, the number of feathers correlate with the number of communities in Nunavik, both sides of the shape are symmetric promoting equality, and the dot represent a head and a mind fully supported by the body.
Two sides of the top part contain 5 fingers each as do our hands, the symbol can be seen as a person reaching upwards to pull himself up and forward. The shape is also inspired by caribou antlers growing alongside one another so they may be able to secure the caribou’s life.
I like this a whole lot. I think it’s one of the best pieces of flag design I’ve seen in ages. It feels almost like an Inuit version of Japanese logo-based flag design. Very striking, very unique, and I think it would look great up on a flagpole.
(designer: Thomassie Mangiok)
Nova Scotia, since 1858
Nova Scotia has the oldest provincial flag in Canada (older than the country itself!) but it will only become official this year, thanks largely to the efforts of a grade 5 student. 11-year-old Regan Parker discovered during a research project that the flag of Nova Scotia had never been recognized by the provincial legislature. She brought the oversight up to her local MLA and he introduced the Provincial Flag Act, which passed its Third Reading this past Thursday.
The flag is a banner of Nova Scotia’s coat of arms, first granted all the way back in 1625. Other provinces have heraldic banners for flags, but Nova Scotia is the only one that never bothered with any kind of official authorization. Instead the public just kind of started using it on their own, beginning with the Nova Scotia Philanthropic Society in 1858 and continuing more or less uninterrupted to the present day.
Royal Canadian Navy (proposed ensign), 1960s.
The naval ensign I posted about yesterday is the first unique one in Canadian history, but another one was proposed decades earlier. The flag would have been like the British white ensign (which Canadian ships were flying at the time) but with the British flag replaced by three red maple leaves.
The designer, Alan Beddoe, was an accomplished Canadian herald who created the coat of arms of Yukon and the Northwest Territories, over 180 ship badges, the arms for numerous universities and municipalities, and Lester B. Pearson’s three-leaved national flag proposal in 1964. His drawing of the Canadian coat of arms was the official version from 1957 until 1994. (And randomly he went to my high school.)
(designer: Alan Beddoe)
Royal Canadian Navy, 1968-2013 (jack), since 2013 (ensign)
The navy did a little flag switcheroo on Sunday, making the former naval jack into a naval ensign, and the national flag (which had previously been used as an ensign) into a naval jack. For those of you not up on your naval terminology, the jack is the flag flown at the front of the ship while the ensign is usually flown at the back. The new changes will make it easier to distnguish warships from other Canadian vessels.
Prince of Wales (personal Canadian flag), since 2012
Prince Charles has his own flag for use in Canada, first used during his royal tour of the country last year. It consists of the Canadian banner of Arms with the Prince’s ostrich-feather insignia at the centre, surrounded by a garland of maple leaves. The white stripe at the top with three tabs is a heraldic device called a label, which signifies the son of a monarch.
Toronto Maple Leafs (unofficial)
It’s playoff season, which means the whole city of Toronto is going hockey crazy. As I’ve been walking around town, I’ve been seeing Maple Leafs flags flying all over. There are actually a whole bunch of different designs, but this one is by far the coolest. It takes the Canadian flag and gives it a Toronto coat of paint.
today was international day, i went as a mexican puzzle piece yey twas fuuuun
Canadian Army, since 1998
The Canadian flag doesn’t often appear on other flags, but all three branches of the Canadian Forces have adopted ensigns that put the national flag up in the corner. The jack of the Royal Canadian Navy came first in 1968, followed by the Royal Canadian Air Force ensign in 1985, and finally the flag of the Canadian Army in 1998. The flag includes the army’s badge, which was adopted at the same time.
Purdy’s Chocolates, since 2005
Purdy’s is a Canadian chain of chocolate stores and I was delighted to discover that they have an official coat of arms and flag registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The blazon is Rustré Or and Purpure, which translates to “a field of diamonds with circles in the centre coloured gold and purple.” The design is supposed to resemble a box of chocolates seen from above, and the full coat of arms includes a cocoa tree and a pair of festive reindeer.
(designer: Robert D. Watt)