Design

Flags we might have had

On this day in 1965, Canada’s red and white flag rose for the first time on Parliament Hill.  Artists, designers and the public submitted thousands of designs, including this rough hand-drawn suggestion by Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jackson.

“When one thinks of how all this country was discovered and explored by men in canoes, running down or poling up rapids […] the wild river is far more associated with our history than any ocean and the rollicking line can be the expression of it on a flag, Jackson wrote.

There was huge controversy over the design, a debate the Canadian Encyclopedia summarizes on its website.  Go here to read the full post, which is fascinating.  Note that the Canada goose flag suggestion above also includes the fleur-de-lys, a symbol of francophone cultural identity.

Forrest C. Nickerson, an established wildlife illustrator and graphic artist, thought this design would best represent the country.  There were also submissions from Inuit and aboriginal groups, cultural groups, and the military.

The Canadian Encyclopedia article, here.

The CBC TV live archive of the flag-raising on Feb. 15, 1965 here

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