2018: The Year of More is Better!

Happy New Year! 

We made it through 2017, and what a year it was for all Canadians! We came together and celebrated the greatest milestone – our 150th anniversary – in our nation’s history! We all share the privilege of living in the best country in the world. Canada is known for freedom, democracy, compassion, opportunity, innovation, and peace. Since Confederation, Canada has grown and achieved so much, and so the year-long celebrations gave us plenty of opportunity to consider and appreciate what it means to be Canadian.

Everyone from The Flag Shops across Canada was thrilled to support Canada 150 celebrations and events which took place from coast to coast to coast, throughout the entire year. It didn’t stop at Canada 150, either – we worked with co-ops, municipalities, the entertainment industry, community outreach organizations, and on relief projects, to name just a few.

We took so much joy in being able to fulfill our purpose to connect, make a positive difference, and bring meaning to the events and projects of our clients. We love serving our community, and as we look ahead to 2018, we know it will be all about “more is better!” More connecting, more laughter, more new ideas, more wine, more change, more fun, more sleep, more courage, more friendships, and more dreams realized!

Our President, Susan Braverman said, “While I have never been someone who declares personal resolutions at this time of year, I can tell you that I have lofty visions for 2018.” She added, “As we say good-bye to the old and usher in the new, I am excited and full of anticipation about what 2018 will bring for my clients, my family, and my entire Flag Shop team!”

This year, we hope to strengthen our connections with our readers. In particular, our blog will feature products and services to support nation-wide events.  Whatever the occasion, whatever the plan, we will be ready to contribute to the purpose of your projects to bring deeper meaning and impact.

Cheers to 2018 – a year to do and be more!

Home for the Holidays

The Meaning of Kwanzaa

As we wrap up our special “Home for the Holidays” series, we feature Kwanzaa, which takes place every year from December 26 to January 1. Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration honouring African traditions and cultural heritage. It was started by Maulana Karenga in 1966, following the violent Watts riots in Los Angeles, California. Karenga believed it was important for African Americans to have an occasion to commemorate their cultural heritage, and thus created Kwanzaa as an alternative to existing holidays. Kwanzaa is a Swahili word that translates to English as, “first fruits from the harvest.” Though Kwanzaa has roots in the Black Nationalist Movement, it has grown to hold meaning as a time for all people to reflect on and celebrate African American and pan-African traditions and heritage.


Image Source: fitsnews.com

The Principles of Kwanzaa
There are seven principles of Kwanzaa, which reflect the importance of community, while helping to create a better world. It’s no surprise that we at The Flag Shop can easily identify with these principles, which focus on community, social responsibility and creativity.

umoja
Meaning: unity
Action: building a community that holds together

kujichagulia
Meaning: self-determination
Action: speaking for yourself and making choices that benefit the community

ujima
Meaning: collective work and responsibility
Action: helping others within the community

ujamaa
Meaning: cooperative economics
Action: supporting businesses that care about the community

nia
Meaning: a sense of purpose
Action: setting goals that benefit the community

kuumba
Meaning: creativity
Action: making the community better and more beautiful

imani
Meaning: faith
Action: believing that a better world can be created for communities now and in the future

There are many symbols of Kwanzaa, including the unity cup, representing community; fruits or crops, representing productivity; seven candles, representing the seven principles, and the Bendera flag, made up of the colours black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope resulting from the struggle. Joyous Kwanzaa!

As we wrap up our series on holiday traditions and celebrations, we wish peace and joy to you and yours over the holidays, and the best of everything in 2018!

We loved serving our community, clients, customers and friends throughout 2017, and we look forward to connecting again in the new year!

Home for the Holidays

My Memories of Hanukkah

By Susan Braverman

Hanukkah began at sundown on Tuesday, December 12 and ends today – Wednesday, December 20. During Hanukkah, each day, a candle is lit on a special menorah (candle holder) called “hanukkiyah.” The special ninth candle, traditionally the centre candle, is the “shammash” (servant candle) and is used to light the other candles. The menorah is often placed in the front window, displayed for others to see, and to remember the story of Hanukkah.


Image Source: Michele Westmorland / Getty Images

Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights marking the rededication of the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem, which took place during the 160s BCE. Hanukkah lasts for eight days and is the Hebrew word for “dedication.” It begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which is the month in the Jewish calendar usually occurring around the same time as December.

Growing up with a Jewish father, I can remember many special times celebrating Hanukkah. My dad came from a large family, and although I was not raised in the Jewish faith, I grew up being a part of many lavish gatherings full of friends and neighbours. Those who didn’t have family would join us – rabbis, shoemakers and doctors alike – to share the joy and peace of Hanukkah. My dad’s extended family, including first, second, and third cousins would fly in from all parts of Canada and the US, and on the first night, my aunt’s or uncle’s house would be bustling with joy, laughter, love, and warmth. Even though I didn’t know many of the people, I felt so loved by these strangers. We were family.


Me and my dad, Jack Braverman. This picture was taken in 2016 at my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party.

The Story of Hanukkah
During the time of the second temple, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucid Empire, which robbed the Jews and set up idols in the temple. No one could take a stand against them until Mattityahu and his sons drove them out. The Hanukkah lights are reminders of the great miracle, that a small group of Jews were able to overpower the mighty Seleucid army. Even greater was the miracle of the oil. The Seleucid Empire had contaminated the oil in the temple, but the Maccabees (the Jewish warriors), found one single jar that had been untouched. Though this oil was only enough to burn for one day, the warriors lit it as an expression of respect for God, and it miraculously burned for eight days.


Image Source: Wikipedia

Hanukkah Today
During the Jewish festival of lights, gifts are often given on each night. It’s a time gathering with friends and family to play games and celebrate. One popular game is “dreidel”, which is a four- sided top with a letter on each side. The four letters reflect “Nes Gadol Hayah Po.” Translated to English, this phrase means, “A great miracle happened here.” Each player places a coin in a pot and spins the top. The letter signifies how much or how little of the pot is won during each round. The importance of the oil in the Hanukkah story is remembered by preparing and sharing fried foods like “latkes” (potato pancakes) and “sufganiyot” (jam-filled doughnuts).


Image Source: Fuse / Getty Images

Happy Hanukkah! L’chaim!

Home for the Holidays

VanDusen Festival of Lights – The Magic of Christmas

By Susan Braverman

For me, nothing says Christmas more than Christmas lights! With that in mind, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to feature the VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights, which has always been a sign that Christmas is just around the corner!


Festival of Lights. Image Source: VanDusen Garden

I have so many incredible memories of the Festival of Lights through the years, having attended since it began almost 25 years ago. When it snows in Vancouver, being at the Festival makes you feel like you’re at Santa’s house! In the 90s, we helped create its banner program and made its first-ever street banners, so it’s very close to my heart. This year, we are thrilled to be a part of the excitement once again, having supplied over 50 festive street banners for the 2017 Festival of Lights. The banners are up on Oak and West 37th right outside of the Gardens, making the area even more beautiful, and signaling the beginning of the season of good cheer!


These were the very first Festival of Lights street banners we made for VanDusen Garden in the 90s.


This year’s Festival of Lights street banners that just went up about a month ago.

The Festival ends on January 7, so the clock is ticking. Get your tickets and get out there before it’s too late and be drawn into a magical world of wonder and light, and to be counted among the 110,000+ visitors the Festival has welcomed in recent years. It is a community mainstay offering an enchanted winter wonderland stretching across 15 acres, and sparkling with more than a million lights. A memorable experience for kids of every age, the program includes Candy Cane Lane, the interactive icebergs of Livingstone Lake, community choirs, and the Candy Cane Express model train. Here are some highlights of the Festival:

  • Carousel
    What else can bring on more holiday cheer than a ride on a carousel in a beautifully-lit setting? From grandkids to grandparents, it’s family fun for everyone because all tickets include a free ride on the carousel.
  • Santa’s Place
    Families, kids and couples alike can listen to holiday stories and take a selfie with Santa in the glasshouse until December 24. This is free, included with your entry ticket to the festival!
  • Festival Stage
    Sing along to your favourite festive classics! Enjoy warm beverages while listening to singers, choirs, bands and entertainers inside the Visitor Centre halls. This area is now fully licensed.
  • Fireside Lounge
    Gather around the fire pits and warm up with a holiday beverage in this new outdoor licensed area.
  • Make-A-Wish® Candle Grotto
    Make a donation to the Festival’s charity partner, the Make-A-Wish® Foundation, and make a wish while you light a candle to fill this scenic grotto.
  • Make-A-Wish® – Lego Room of Joy
    In the Visitor Centre, learn about the Make-A-Wish® BC & Yukon, get a glow star with a minimum $5 donation and enjoy the Lego display!
  • Recycled Rhythms
    Let your kids have some fun making music with recycled instruments.
  • Tinsel Tunes
    Play the piano and sing along to holiday tunes in the garden.
  • Selfie Spots and Photo Ops
    Look out for frames, sets, and other selfie spots throughout the show and make sure to share with #VanDusenFOL

Earlier this month, the Vancouver Sun published its Guide to the BEST Christmas Light Displays in Metro Vancouver and it’s no surprise that the VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights is included! Check out the list, and if you think your lights have what it takes to be added, just follow the link to share! If your display makes it onto the list, please be sure to let us know!

For more information about the 2017 Festival of Lights, please visit City of Vancouver’s website.

Stay tuned for more holiday traditions and observances as The Flag Shop’s series “Home for the Holidays” continues, next week with Hanukkah. L’chaim!

Home for the Holidays

Why Can’t We Say “Merry Christmas” Anymore?

By Susan Braverman

Recognizing there are many holiday traditions which take place in December, we’re introducing a special “Home for the Holidays” blog series. This week’s post begins the series, which will continue to the end of the year.

’Tis the Season! What exactly does this mean? For most Canadians, including myself, it means that Christmas – the busiest time of year for many retail businesses – is coming! We all know that as soon as American Thanksgiving is over, our senses are flooded with Christmas advertising and countdowns, telling us what to buy and where to find it. Many around the world observe and recognize this day as a time of giving gifts to one another and family gatherings, as well as a time of reflecting joy, hope, peace, and kindness.

According to Statistics Canada findings, Canadians celebrate holy days in December, with:

  • 67.3% of Canadians reporting affiliation with a Christian religion (Christmas);
  • 1.1% of Canadians reporting affiliation with a Buddhist religion (Bodhi Day), and
  • 1.0% of Canadians reporting affiliation with a Jewish religion (Hanukkah).

As someone who never shies away from speaking my heart and mind, here’s my point of view: We, as Canadians, are privileged beyond words to live in the best country in the world. Personally speaking, I am very proud to say that Canada is my home because we are well-known for embracing diversity, multiculturalism, as well as freedom of expression, and we have a global reputation for valuing compassion, democracy, opportunity, and peace.


Multicultural Day at Sacred Heart School of Halifax in Nova Scotia

As a multicultural nation, Canada is built on values such as respect, and we enjoy the freedom to practice our own traditions and faith, including Christmas. So, my question is: Why can’t we say “Merry Christmas” anymore? December 25 is Christmas Day, so let’s not pretend it isn’t. Canadians observe Christmas Day as a statutory holiday, and on that day, schools and businesses are closed – except for some gas stations, Chinese restaurants, and corner stores.


Spotted and shared this message on my Facebook page

I grew up with a Jewish father and a Christian mother, so even at a young age I understood the meaning of freedom of religion and the importance of respecting diverse traditions. For as long as I can remember, we always had a Christmas tree, which we called the Hanukkah bush! The lights on our house were white, making them the same colour as candles on the Menorah. Every year, at the store and office, we set up Christmas trees and decorations and we greet our customers with “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays.”


Our Christmas tree at The Flag Shop Vancouver store.

To honour and recognize holiday traditions in December, we hope you’ll enjoy the “Home for the Holidays” series. Let’s all collectively celebrate the joy and wonder of the season.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we feature celebrations including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and others…

Happy Holidays!

November 11 – Why We Remember

Honouring Our Heroes Who Fought in the Name of Peace and Freedom

On Remembrance Day we honour the memory of Canadians who died in armed conflicts, most especially in World War I, and onward. In Canada, though November 11 is officially called Remembrance Day, it is also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day.

Here are some interesting facts about Remembrance Day you may not already know:

  1. The Governor General of Canada presides over the Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. It is attended by the Prime Minister, government officials, veterans’ organizations, veterans and the public.
  2. Members of the Canadian military are honoured each year not only fighting in the two World Wars, the Korean War, the South African War, the Arab-Israeli Conflict of 1974, and in Afghanistan, but also in several dozen UN peacekeeping missions.
  3. According to the Royal Canadian Legion, the poppy should be worn on the left lapel, which is closer to the heart. Poppies are to be worn from October 31 to November 11, and rather than being discarded on November 12, they should be placed at a cenotaph (a monument or tomb built in honour of people who died at war and are buried elsewhere).

On this day, we pay tribute to members of our armed forces and their families, who serve or have served during times of peace, conflict, and war. During the month of November we wear red poppies as symbols of remembrance because of the poem, “In Flanders Fields,” written by a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. This poem was written from viewpoint of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and peace, and describes the hope of the deceased for the living to carry on.


Image source: The Canadian Press/Fred Chartrand

Inspired by this poem, Moina Michael, a University of Georgia professor, wrote another poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith”, vowing to wear a red poppy every November 11. She popularized this custom, which spread across Europe, countries of the British Empire and the Commonwealth. In those earliest times when poppies grew in some of the battlefields of Flanders in World War I, real poppies were worn. This is how poppies and their vibrant red colour first became natural symbols bloodshed in the war.


Members of the Canadian military stand in honour of fallen Canadian soldiers. Image source: BlackburnNews.com/Mike Vlasveld

On November 11 Canadians remember members of the Canadian armed forces, past and present, at home and abroad. We salute them for the sacrifices they make to protect peace and freedom for all Canadians. One of the ways we honour those who sacrificed their lives is to observe two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m. This is a deliberate act rooted in humanity, to reflect on what we owe all those who have helped to shape our nation – those who experienced the harshest realities of war.

If you would like to know about Remembrance Day events in your community, please visit the Veterans Affairs Canada website, to access an interactive map of events across Canada.

The Flag Shop carries a full range of Canadian-made Remembrance Day products as well as ensigns and military flags to pay tribute to our serving and fallen heroes.

Cirque du Soleil: KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities

Crazy Dreams and Grand Schemes Await

KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities premiered in Montreal in April of 2014. Since its debut, the spectacle has brought joy and wonder to audiences across six continents, reaching more than 180 million people in more than 400 cities. This traveling show has 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from nearly 50 different countries around the globe.

Everyone’s heard of Cirque du Soleil, but did you know KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is its 35th production since 1984? Check out these fun facts about KURIOS, which we hope will get you as pumped up as we are about experiencing the breath-taking performance:

  1. The troupe uses a total of 426 props, which is the most of any Cirque production in its history.
  2. There are over 100 beautiful costumes worn by the performers, which are carefully handled and also repaired between shows. Counting the hats, shoes and wigs, there are over 800 costume pieces required for the show.
  3. As the troupe travels the show circuit, they are accompanied by 2,000 tons of equipment, transported in 65 trucks, from city to city.
  4. A mechanical hand weighing 750 pounds, and 15 feet wide is part of the set design. Talk about a big hand!

The Flag Shop Vancouver is super excited to be the supplier to our client Live Nation, the show’s promoter, for whom we produced over 450 beautiful, custom printed banners to celebrate and promote KURIOS. These vibrant banners now adorn the streets of Vancouver, a simply stunning sight against the city’s skyline.

The show opened in Vancouver one week ago and audiences have been wowed by a world-class entertainment experience. The story is about a scientist who, when learning about electricity, discovers an invisible world – a place where the craziest of dreams and the grandest of schemes are waiting to be born. In this alternate yet recognizable world, wonder awaits anyone who dares to trust their imagination, unleashing the magic by closing their eyes.

From his bigger-than-life curio cabinet, the “Seeker” finds this hidden world of magic and wonder. A rare collection of characters from another world comes to life, entering his improvised mechanical world. As the peculiar characters turn his world topsy-turvy, his trinkets come alive right before his eyes.

For more information about Cirque du Soleil: KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, please visit https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/kurios

The Flag Shop supports the arts and entertainment industry in many capacities, from designing custom banners to supplying international flags.

Chester – His Journey from Orphanhood to Adoption

The Vancouver Aquarium: Abounding with Beauty and Wonder

Have you ever met Chester? Well, everyone has a story and Chester is no different! He was just a little “baby” false killer whale (a member of the oceanic dolphin family) when he was rescued on the beach near Tofino, BC, in the summer of 2014. At the time, he was only a few weeks old and hadn’t even grown teeth yet. Stranded on North Chesterman Beach, hurt and scrawny, no other members of his species were nearby – not even his mother. Chester was brought into the care of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.


Chester’s rescue effort back in July, 2014. Source: Vancouver Aquarium

Once he was restored to tip-top shape, a group of marine mammal experts, who were called together by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, all agreed that Chester could not be released into the wild. He’d had considerable contact with humans, was very young, and lacked hunting and social skills. False killer whale calves at his age, in the wild, are completely dependent on their mothers.

If you’ve ever had the privilege of visiting the Vancouver Aquarium, then you will understand first-hand the beauty, awe, and wonder of seeing marine life up-close. The Vancouver Aquarium has been involved in the rescue of marine mammals for more than 40 years, rehabilitating and releasing animals, including California sea lions, harbour seals, Stellar sea lions, elephant seals, a harbour porpoise and even a killer whale.

As the first-ever and largest public aquarium in Canada, the Vancouver Aquarium takes pride in its global reputation as a leading marine science centre. Home to more than 70,000 animals, more than one million people from all over the world visit every year to see the whales, dolphins (like Chester), snakes, and otters, to name just a few.

The Flag Shop has worked with the aquarium on many special projects over the years, producing everything from custom banners, to event backdrops, tents, curtains, pennant strings and of course, flags. Through our interactions, we know the aquarium is about so much more than beauty and wonder (as if that were not enough)!


Various projects we have done for the Vancouver Aquarium throughout the years

The breath-taking allure of marine life is undeniable and the aquarium’s mission statement is equally impactful: “The Vancouver Aquarium is a self-supporting, non-profit society dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display, communication, education and public programming, research and direct action.”

The aquarium is also an Ocean Wise® initiative. Ocean Wise® is an organization of educators, conservationists and scientists who work together to fulfill a vision of a world where our oceans are healthy and flourishing. Over-fishing is a real and global concern, combined with the threat of extinction of ocean species, relating to climate change. The Vancouver Aquarium is a leader in taking action against this threat through its research and conservation efforts. Ocean Wise® certifies sustainably harvested seafood, helping consumers to make informed and responsible decisions with their seafood menu selections.


Chef Ned Bell of Vancouver Aquarium. Source: Vancouver Aquarium

If you’re in the Vancouver area and would like to explore and learn more about the importance of sustainability and education relating to marine life, visit the aquarium, or go to the Vancouver Aquarium website: http://www.vanaqua.org/

Co-op Week 2017: It’s Here!

Canadian Co-ops – It’s Your Time to Shine

As co-ops and credit unions across the country hold Co-op Week celebrations from October 15 – 21, 2017, here are some fun facts about co-ops we bet you didn’t know:

  • Co-ops are the life of the party. The London Brewing Company in Ontario is the first worker’s co-operative brewery outside of Quebec. It’s owned by the people who work there, with each one participating in setting the direction of the business, in a democratic manner. They’ve got “Local 117” on tap now.
  • Your pancakes taste better because of co-ops – 35% of the world’s maple syrup supply comes from Canadian co-ops.
  • Thanks to Holland Flora, a flower co-op in the Netherlands, our world is more beautiful and smells nicer, too. This European co-op holds 44% of the world market, selling 19 million flowers and two million plants every single day!
  • Ontario is home to eight renewable energy co-ops and the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-op was the first-ever green power community co-op in Canada. When it comes to green energy, Ontario tops the list!


Workers are also owners at London Brewing Company. Source: London Brewing Company


Quebec co-operative, Citadelle, is the world’s largest maple syrup producer and exporter. Source: Country-guide.ca


Holland Flora’s warehouse. Source: Holland Toolkit


TREC is Canada’s leader in the development of community owned renewable energy. Source: TREC Renewable Energy Co-operative.

There’s no doubt that co-ops are leaders in many business sectors, and during Co-op Week, we celebrate with them for all that they do to help to build a better world. Co-operatives are all about achieving sustainable social, economic, cultural, and environmental goals, as guided by international co-operative principles and values.

In the last of our co-op blog series, we feature the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC), with whom we’ve been working since 2011. The CCA is a not-for-profit co-op dedicated to ending global poverty through co-operative action. The mission of the CCA is “to establish and grow co-operatives, credit unions and community-based organizations to reduce poverty, build sustainable livelihoods and improve civil society in less-developed countries.”

Since 1987, the CCA has been organizing and assembling the human and financial resources of Canada’s co-operatives and credit unions to bring valuable international development programs. This is accomplished with the support of local partnerships in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Americas, on behalf of the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) and Global Affairs Canada.


Source: Canadian Co-operative Association

In 2014, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) was launched by combining the experience and history of two large co-op organizations: the CCA and le Conseil canadien de la coopération et mutualité (CCCM), which had, up to that point, been operating separately. As a bilingual association, the CMC represents more than 18 million members from 9,000 co-operatives, giving a united voice to its membership. CMC focuses its activities on helping co-operatives establish themselves, develop, and prosper. Through federal government advocacy, CMC offers a knowledgeable voice to support national policies which strengthen the co-operative economy. With its members representing many sectors including agri-food and supply, housing, finance, insurance, wholesale and retail, health, as well as the service sector, CMC provides leadership for the benefit of all Canadians.


Lobby Day in Ottawa on February 14, 2017. Source: Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada / Coopératives et mutuelles Canada

The co-op way is all about people, empowerment, sustainability, autonomy, community and caring for one another. It’s no wonder we love supporting co-ops and all the important work they do, here at home and around the world.

To learn more about the CCA or the CMC, please visit their websites: canada.coop and coopscanada.coop. For more information about our co-op product line, please visit our co-op products website at thecoopstore.ca.

Helping Build a Better World through Co-op Education and Co-operation

Alberta Community and Co-operative Association

Imagine a world where every dollar you spend supporting your local co-op increases reinvestment opportunities in your community. Then imagine, as a co-op member, you are also an owner, holding shares in the co-op. And finally, imagine that you receive a portion of the profits each year, based on how much you spend at your own co-op. This is the beauty of the co-op: membership is ownership, and profits are shared with all owners.

As we continue our special co-op blog series leading up to Co-op Week, which runs from October 15 – 21, we feature the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association (ACCA). The mission of the ACCA is to strengthen the communities of Alberta by promoting co-op values and developing co-op leaders. All co-ops are bound by a common set of values, including solidarity, self-help, self-responsibility, and democracy. Guided by co-op values and principles, the ACCA supports co-ops to address the social, cultural and economic needs of Albertans.


2017 Summit of Co-operative Leaders. Source: Alberta Community and Co-operative Association

The ACCA is part of a national and international association of businesses which places people ahead of profits, co-operating to advance community well-being. Co-ops are started when a group of people see a specific need or opportunity within their community, then grow and prosper under their own vision and direction.

Alberta is known as a destination for many things, including the majestic Rockies, the Calgary Stampede, and the world’s only permanent Star Trek museum. It’s even where the phrase “trick or treat” was first used on Hallowe’en! It’s also a place where more than one million people – roughly one quarter of its population – choose to be members of co-ops. Every type of co-op can be found, ranging from grocery co-ops to housing co-ops, credit unions, gasoline co-ops, insurance co-ops, farm supplies co-ops and even utilities co-ops. The ACCA builds and strengthens relationships within the community to fulfill its goals of advancing co-op leadership and promoting co-op values. The association engages organizations in important dialogue about Alberta’s “co-op advantage”, including municipalities, the provincial government, economic development organizations and learning institutions.


Various types of co-operatives in Alberta. Clockwise from top left: Central Alberta Co-op, Carpathia Housing Co-Op Ltd, Servus Credit Union, and United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Ltd.

Michele Aasgard, Executive Director of the ACCA, said, “Our organization is proud to support communities across Alberta, applying co-op principles in our daily work.” She added, “The ACCA is a leadership organization whose chief purpose is to educate people. Through youth education programs, adult education, and education about the co-op model, we share the knowledge that co-ops make invaluable contributions to the social and economic advancement of the communities they serve.”

As determined by its members, the ACCA exists for five main reasons:
• To raise awareness about the co-operative model
• To involve and educate youth in the co-operative movement
• To advocate for co-operatives to governments
• To create networking opportunities to strengthen the co-op sector
• To be a resource for co-operative development and education


2017 Summit of Co-operative Leaders. Source: Alberta Community and Co-operative Association

With two Flag Shop locations in Alberta for 25 years, one in Edmonton and the other in Calgary, we’ve known about the ACCA and their outstanding community work for many for years. In one of our most memorable projects, we worked together providing polyknit flags, buttons, friendship pins, magnets, pens, pennant strings and paper flags to support “2012 International Year of Co-operatives” celebrations.

With Co-op Week right around the corner, we celebrate and acknowledge the work of the ACCA for supporting co-op education and for promoting the co-op way of doing business, impacting co-operators across Alberta and beyond, all while helping to build a better world.

For nearly seven years, The Flag Shop has been proudly supporting Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada and the International Co-operative Alliance initiatives across Canada and around the globe. For more information about our co-op product line, please visit our co-op products website: thecoopstore.ca. To learn more about The Flag Shop and to see everything else we can do, go to: www.flagshop.com.