Olympic hockey is upon us. Which means Dad is getting up extra early (and extra awake) to watch early round competitions. I like hockey. Been a fan a long time. But overly excitable commentators and Dad coaching/commenting/refereeing before breakfast is a bit much.
Speaking of Canada, February 15, 1965, was the day Canada adopted what we now know to be the Canadian flag. Queen Elizabeth issued a Formal Proclamation and the flag went up. (Note: This is a good example of a time to use the phrase “run it up the flagpole.” Most other times are not.)
“So,” I hear you asking, “tell me about the Canadian flag.” Well, if you insist.
Way back in 1610 (that’s before you were born), Lower Canada was a new British Colony and therefore flew Britain’s Union Jack. The polar bears in Upper Canada weren’t impressed and continued to frolic on the icebergs. This was before global warming and the Titanic, so polar bear moms didn’t warn their cubs to stay off the bergs.
By 1763, the French had lost a sizable portion of Canada so the polar bears had to stop speaking with a French accent and all of Canada lived under the Union Jack. (Extra points if you know who lived “under the name of Saunders.”)
Fast forward to 1867, when Canada started getting uppity (as much as Canadians ever get uppity) and the Dominion of Canada was established as a self-governing federation within the British Empire. Which meant, among other things, a new flag had to be created. This was a swell time to be a flag maker. It took three years, but the Canadian Red Ensign was adopted (it was red with the Union Jack in the upper-left corner and a crest on the right).
That worked for a while, but eventually (and by eventually I mean it took a loooong time) Canadians began to point out that their flag didn’t have a maple leaf which is what they’d wanted all along, they’d just been too polite to say so.
King George V had nothing much to do in 1921 so he used the time to officially declare red and white the official colors of Canada. Officially. Which is why the maple leaf is white and not maple-leaf-color and why the background is red and not purple.
Canadians are very proud of their flag and of being Canadian–as they should be. While we have a lot of good stuff going for us as Americans, one doesn’t usually hear the term “ugly Canadian” batted around. Granted we don’t have crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford and we know how to pronounce the word donut. Then again, we eat too many donuts and have plenty of our own idiots.
P.S. Winnie-the-Pooh lived under the name of Saunders
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