This is one of several unofficial flags, but it’s the most common one you’ll find on the island.
Canada, since 1965
John Ross Matheson died this past December at the age of 96. He’s often been called the father of the Canadian Flag, and with good reason. He was the one that massaged George Stanley’s flag proposal into its current form, enlarging the centre stripe and adding an evelen-pointed maple leaf drawn by Jacques St-Cyr. He was also responsible for underhandedly shepherding the flag through Parliament’s selection committee. His hard work paid off when the flag was proclaimed on 28 January 1965.
Alistair B. Fraser recounted the full story in his excellent free ebook on the Flags of Canada, and it’s well worth a read if you’ve got the time.
Anthem time before the @Senators and @FlaPanthers game at the Canadian Tire Centre @CdnTireCtr
Hamilton, since 2003
A “Canadian pale” is a flag with three vertical stripes, the centre one being one half the total width of the flag. Ideally the flag should have a 1:2 ratio so the centre stripe can be a square. As the name would suggest it’s a popular design in Canada, first used on the national flag. (A pale, by the way, is the heraldic name for a vertical stripe.)
Hamilton got its Canadian pale after amalgamating with the five other municipalities in Hamilton-Wentworth. It’s a bit unique in that the central stripe is a darker colour rather than a lighter one. The cinquefoil in the centre is the symbol of Clan Hamilton and the circular chain with six large links represents the six former cities and towns.
(designer: Ralph Spence)
Anglican Church of Canada, 1955 (proposed, top); since 1955 (bottom)
If you’re going to make a flag for the Anglican Church of Canada, it pretty much has to be a combination of the English flag and a maple leaf. The question is, how exactly do you combine them? The sub-committee charged with designing the flag wanted a single gold maple leaf in the centre of the cross. When the General Synod approved the flag later that year it put maple leaves in the four corners instead, and made them green to indicate that their church was “youthful and vigorous”.
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor AF-S 70-200 F/4G ED VR lens
Canada (proposed), 1963
The mast majority of Canadian flag proposals had a maple leaf on them somewhere, but once in a while a designer would take a more abstract approach. This proposal in Canadian Art had a blue and red circle on a white field. It’s meaning hasn’t made its way to the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, but If I had to guess I’d say it has something to do with English and French Canada. Or maybe the designer just liked Japan.
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.