A Flag on the Play: Soccer is Back for Another Great Season

Are you ready, Canada? Spring is here, which means the grass is back; it also means that the soccer season is starting up again. Now I know we all love hockey, but soccer is growing fast in Canada and really, what’s not to love? We hear it’s called ‘the beautiful game’ and for good reason – these fans are crazy about flags!

We have four professional teams in the Great White North; Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Toronto FC, Montreal Impact FC playing in the MLS and the Ottawa Fury playing in the NASL. So let’s have a look at just how flag crazy these fans can be! (And I saved the best for last, so be sure to read the whole way down!)

First up, let’s start back east. These Montreal Impact fans have not only flags, but a bell??? How’d they manage that? Also, did you notice the Irish banner? That could be pretty seasonally appropriate I think. (*cough* St.Patrick’s Day *cough*)

Ring my beeeeelllll!!! #IMFC #1642mtl @tonymarinaro690 @1642mtl Quelle ambiance !!!

A video posted by Impact de Montréal (@impactmontreal) on

This pic from the Toronto FC shows off the custom banner side of game flags – these are great if you have a front row seat, or if your stadium doesn’t allow flagpoles (a note on that at the end).

In Ottawa, they like to keep it in the province; their Red Devil mascot seems to enjoy the Ontario flag!

Finally, here in Vancouver the local team supporters, the Vancouver Southsiders, really know how up the ante with their flag game. Here’s a video from a recent March to the season opener:

Players, here ✔️ Supporters, here ✔️ MLS Season, here ✔️ #VWFC

A video posted by Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@whitecapsfc) on

Yeah, these groups really know what’s up when it comes to flags:

BONUS: Canada also has a national supporter group, The Voyageurs, and you guessed it, they love flags a whole lot:

If you want to get in on all of the flag fun, we do sell licensed MLS flags for the Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver teams in our online shop.  And if you really want to step up your game, we can make you something custom. Please remember, though, that each stadium has its own rules around flags. One of your best bets is to join a local supporter group – they often work closely with the team to up the ante when it comes to the fan section.


The Flag Shop has been working locally with the Vancouver Whitecaps for years. You can see examples of their street banners here and of a giant flag we did for them here. If you would like more information about ordering a custom flag, please contact us.

The Flag Shop Celebrates Pink Shirt Day

On February 24th, also known as Pink Shirt Day, everything looked rosy at The Flag Shop. From coast to coast, Flag Shop employees slipped on their pink shirts and lined up for selfies.

Anti-Bullying movements are a big deal to us here so we like to do what we can to support the initiatives that come our way. Most recently we launched a school fundraising program that enables schools to spread the Anti-Bullying message while raising money for school initiatives. In the pink shirt photos below, you may even steal a peek of some of the anti-bullying products we carry.

Now without further ado, the parade of pink shirts!

First up were the early risers at The Flag Shop New Brunswick:

Then Le Flag Shop Montreal got in on the lutte contre l’intimidation:

The Flag Shop Winnipeg made Pink Shirt Day a family affair:

While the The Flag Shop Edmonton location felt some puppy love:

Last but not least, the The Flag Shop Head Office staff posed outside for a photo. There were lots of cars driving buy, so hopefully we served as a human billboard for the message.

 

HAPPY PINK SHIRT DAY EVERYONE!


Pink Shirt Day isn’t the only day that promotes the Anti-Bullying movement; next up is Day of Pink on April 13th and the United Nations Anti-Bulling Day on May 4th. For more information on Anti-Bullying initiatives and to learn more about our school fundraising program, visit www.antibullyingflag.ca.

Flag Day 2016: Honouring Patrick Reid

 

Monday, February 15th is a busy day for Canadians. With Family Day for some, and Islander, Louis Riel or Heritage Day for others, many Canadians will be enjoying the last day of a long weekend. However, February 15th is also Flag Day in Canada, and although it is not itself a statutory holiday, it is still one that anyone who loves the red and white maple leaf flag will find wonderfully important.

Canadian FlagUnfortunately, Flag Day 2016 also marks the first Flag Day since the passing of Patrick Reid, a man who was absolutely instrumental in the adoption of our modern flag.

The Adoption of the Flag

In the Fall of 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was pushing through a new Canadian flag. Dubbed the ‘Pearson Pennant,’ this red, white and blue design was not approved in the House of Commons. It was eventually Patrick Reid, who was the Director of the Canadian government exhibition commission at the time, that pulled together and championed the design that we all know today.

There were no shortage of ideas for this new flag – people from all over the country had submitted designs. Through all of them, Reid knew that what was needed was something distinctly Canadian. It had to be a departure from the Canadian Ensign and British flags before it.

Reid wanted a flag that was simple and clear from a distance. He hired one of the Canadian exhibition commission’s designers at the time, the talented Jacques Saint Cyr. The final design, the one we know today, was adopted on February 15, 1965.

A Deeper Connection

As an immigrant to Canada from Ireland, Reid wanted to flag that represented Canada and not the British empire that had previously ruled it. He believed very strongly in Canadian institutions, but also in nation-building. It was important to him that Canada had a unique identity, and that it would stand apart as its own country.
Patrick Reid

The Man Was a Force
According to someone that knew Reid, he had a strong talent for diplomacy. He was firm in his opinions but he was able to make things come to fruition in spite of any conflict. He never had to force his opinions on others and was instead often able to bring others to see his point of view. At the time of the flag adoption, Canadians were divided in many ways over the symbol. Many were quite reluctant to leave the imperial past behind. Patrick Reid stood in the belief that this flag was the right one for Canada, and apparently Canadians agreed.

As we honour the adoption of a flag that is consistently ranked most beautiful and is the envy of others, let’s be sure to take a little second to remember Patrick Reid, a man with a plan, and a flag.


The Canadian Club of Vancouver will be hosting their annual Flag Day luncheon on Monday, February 15th. This will mark the first year in many that Patrick Reid will not be in attendance to speak about the Canadian flag. More information about the event can be found on their website.

There will also be a Flag Raising and City Proclamation at Vancouver City Hall at 8:45am that same day.

To learn more about Patrick Reid, who was also instrumental in Expo ’87 and the Rick Hansen ‘Man in Motion’ Tour, the Globe and Mail as well as the Vancouver Sun wrote some very comprehensive obituaries. The Vancouver Sun also wrote specifically about his involvement in the development of the Canadian flag.

Many thanks to Ted Hawthorne and Raymond Greenwood for their assistance.

Our 2016 Annual General Meeting

Greetings from Toronto! (Actually, we’re back in Vancouver now.)

Last week, head office staff and franchise owners came together in Toronto for our Annual General Meeting. This is our yearly chance to meet, greet, discuss, plan, and party, and did we ever accomplish all that and more! Since this year the meeting was in Toronto, we also did a few supplier visits and got to see firsthand just how a flagpole is made (I’ll write more on that next week). Below are some photographic highlights of the 2016 AGM Toronto.


The Flag Shop AGM takes place every year in January. This is an opportunity for all of the franchises across Canada to come together. Our next AGM will be right at home in Vancouver BC, and we’re already excited for it!

The Flag Shop: A Year in Review 2015

As the holiday season is upon us and the New Year approaches, we decided to take a moment to reflect on the events of 2015. This last year has seen it’s share of good times (the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag), great times (Pride across Canada was blast!), and certainly controversial times (ahem, Confederate flag anyone?).

So without further ado, The Flag Shop 2015 Year in Review:

January

(Clockwise from top-left) The Flag Shop New Brunswick hiding behind a snow drift; A snow day meant a hard days work for store manager, Belinda's kids in New Brunswick; flags produced by the Make Club in Victoria
Clockwise from top-left: The Flag Shop New Brunswick hiding behind a snow drift; A snow day meant a hard day’s work for store manager Belinda’s kids in New Brunswick; Flags produced by the Make Club in Victoria.

The year started off snowy in New Brunswick. The blizzards out east were so bad, the store went into hiding. They made the best of things though, by having a lot of good, fun snow days! Meanwhile on the wet coast, creativity bloomed during a collaboration between The Makehouse and The Flag Shop Victoria.

February

(Clockwise, from top-left) Sales and marketing staff at head office pose in their pink attire; The Flag Shop Toronto pulls out the flag to show where they stand; The Flag Shop Victoria has a gorilla to protect against bullying; Le Flag Shop Montréal proudly displays the message in their window; The Flag shop Saskatoon shows their support for the cause; An anti-bullying flag flies at Winnipeg City Hall
Clockwise, from top-left: Sales and marketing staff at head office pose in their pink attire; The Flag Shop Toronto pulls out the flag to show where they stand; The Flag Shop Victoria has a gorilla to protect against bullying; Le Flag Shop Montréal proudly displays the message in their window; The Flag shop Saskatoon shows their support for the cause; An anti-bullying flag flies at Winnipeg City Hall.

Valentine’s Day may be in February, but that’s not why things turned pink at The Flag Shop. With our Anti-Bullying movement, our stance against bullying took hold as we all showed support to stop bullying in our schools.

(Left-Right) President, Susan Braverman; The Flag Shop Calgary and Edmonton Owner, Phyllis Mandshein Bright
Left to Right: President, Susan Braverman; The Flag Shop Calgary and Edmonton Owner, Phyllis Bright.

We also had the opportunity to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Flag. At fifty, our young flag still looks as beautiful as ever!

March

(Left to Right) Gordie Howe flag flies in Saskatoon; Roman Mars tells everyone how amazing flags are (still from www.youtube.com); The Flag Shop London makes some great flags to support Epilepsy Awareness Month (Left to Right) Gordie Howe flag flies in Saskatoon; Roman Mars tells everyone how amazing flags are (still from www.youtube.com); The Flag Shop London makes some great flags to support Epilepsy Awareness Month
Left to Right: Gordie Howe flag flies in Saskatoon; Roman Mars tells everyone how amazing flags are (still from www.youtube.com); The Flag Shop London makes some great flags to support Epilepsy Awareness Month

As we moved into the spring, some great stuff happened. The Flag Shop Saskatoon made flags to honour the great Gordie Howe. Roman Mars gave a Ted Talk that got everyone talking about flags. Meanwhile, The Flag Shop London was busy making flags for the Epilepsy Support Centre.

April

From left to right: The Flag Shop Winnipeg cheers on the Jets; the flag of Vancouver Island soars to new heights and new proportions (photo from the Times Colonist); Greenpeace Canada shows off their flag
Left to right: The Flag Shop Winnipeg cheers on the Jets; the flag of Vancouver Island soars to new heights and new proportions (photo from the Times Colonist); Greenpeace Canada shows off their flag.

The Flag Shop in Winnipeg cheered on the Jets, while in Victoria the Vancouver Island flag was made bigger than ever before. In Vancouver, Greenpeace Canada launched a new flag design.

May

May was a pretty quiet month as we prepared for the summer.

June

Then things got serious, in June we halted the sale of the Confederate flag. It was a big moment for the company, as we had to all come together and do what we thought was best. You can read more about that decision here.

July

Left to Right) World Cup banner on display at the Head Office / The Flag Shop Vancouver location; The Flag Shop Chilliwack puts out a fun display of FIFA merchandise.
Left to Right: World Cup banner on display at the Head Office / The Flag Shop Vancouver location; The Flag Shop Chilliwack puts out a fun display of FIFA merchandise.
Come July, we were glad to turn our attention to an International flag debate as New Zealand held a flag referendum. We also had the opportunity to cheer on the Canadian Women’s team at the World Cup!

August

Clockwise from top-left: The Flag Shop Vancouver at the Vancouver Pride Festival; The Flag Shop Victoria and their giant Rainbow flag marching at Victoria Pride; The making of The Flag Shop Victoria Pride flag; The Flag Shop Victoria having fun making a giant rainbow flag; One of our first sewn Canada Pride flags; The Flag Shop Saskatoon at a pride event; (centre) Sarah the Wonder dog relaxing in her Pride scarf at The Flag Shop Edmonton
Clockwise from top-left: The Flag Shop Vancouver at the Vancouver Pride Festival; The Flag Shop Victoria and their giant Rainbow flag marching at Victoria Pride; The making of The Flag Shop Victoria Pride flag; The Flag Shop Victoria having fun making a giant rainbow flag; One of our first sewn Canada Pride flags; The Flag Shop Saskatoon at a pride event; (centre) Sarah the Wonder dog relaxing in her Pride scarf at The Flag Shop Edmonton.

For our yearly review, we put this one in August, but really The Flag Shops across the country are involved with Pride all year long! To see a more in-depth review on some of this year’s Pride involvement click here.

Clockwise, from top-left: Toothpick flags made for the occasion; Front and back of toothpick flags; Jack and Doreen Braverman after 50 years of marriage; Jack and Doreen Braverman's wedding portrait
Clockwise, from top-left: Toothpick flags made for the occasion; Front and back of toothpick flags; Jack and Doreen Braverman after 50 years of marriage; Jack and Doreen Braverman’s wedding portrait.

In anniversary news, our founder, Doreen Braverman, and her husband Jack celebrated fifty years of marriage this year with their family and friends.

Left to right: Whitecaps Banners on the Georgia Viaduct; SFU 50th Anniversary on the Dunsmuir Viaduct; Brand New Whitecaps Banners on the Cambie Street Bridge; PNE Banners on the Granville Street Bridge; More SFU Banners on the Burrard Street Bridge.
Left to right: Whitecaps Banners on the Georgia Viaduct; SFU 50th Anniversary on the Dunsmuir Viaduct; Brand New Whitecaps Banners on the Cambie Street Bridge; PNE Banners on the Granville Street Bridge; More SFU Banners on the Burrard Street Bridge.

Also in Vancouver, we celebrated what we called ‘Total Bridge Domination‘ when banners made right here in our production facility were on every major thoroughfare leading into downtown Vancouver.

September

Clockwise, left to right: A bird became stuck in the Head Office; Corporate staff attempt to catch (and free) the bird; banners go up at UBC and at SFU; Vancouver Opera and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra banners are installed in Vancouver.
Clockwise, from top-left: A bird became stuck in the Head Office; Corporate staff attempt to catch (and free) the bird; banners go up at UBC and at SFU; Vancouver Opera and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra banners are installed in Vancouver.

September, in Vancouver at least, saw a lot of sunny skies and a little bit of excitement. Banners from our production facility went up all over the city and we also ended up with a wild bird as a pet for the day in our head office!

October

Clockwise, from top-left: Decoda Literacy Flags are flew all over British Columbia; Kooza banners go up in Vancouver; A line of Blue Jays flags ready for sale at The Flag Shop Saskatoon; Michael B. went as all of the Avengers; A nice car flag in New Brunswick; Rebecca L. asks if you want to build a stick flag?
Clockwise, from top-left: Decoda Literacy Flags were flown all over British Columbia; Kooza banners go up in Vancouver; A line of Blue Jays flags ready for sale at The Flag Shop Saskatoon; Michael B. went as all of the Avengers; A nice car flag in New Brunswick; Rebecca L. asks if you want to build a stick flag?

In October, the Blue Jays made a run for the World Series! It was also Co-op Week in Canada and Decoda’s Literacy Month. Cirque de Soleil’s Kooza came back to Vancouver and jealous of their amazing costumes, some of the head office staff dressed up for Halloween.

November

Clockwise, from top-left: Two children walk the path at the George Derby Centre; The flags of the Camp Hill Memorial in Nova Scotia; The flag parade during the Victory Square Ceremony in Vancouver.
Clockwise, from top-left: Two children walk the path at the George Derby Centre; The flags of the Camp Hill Memorial in Nova Scotia; The flag parade during the Victory Square Ceremony in Vancouver.

A great deal of November was dedicated to Remembrance Day. Nova Scotia showed that they have some of the most beautiful memorials. In Vancouver, we once again produced flags for the George Derby Pledge-A-Flag campaign and the Victory Square Remembrance Day Ceremony was as busy as ever.

A Transgender flag flies in Winnipeg (photo from cbc.ca); A photoshoot for our new transgender flag in Vancouver.
A Transgender flag flies in Winnipeg for Transgender Day of Remembrance (photo from cbc.ca); A photoshoot for our new transgender flag in Vancouver.

We also produced our first full line of Transgender flag products, many of which were used at Transgender Day of Remembrance events across the country.

Left to Right: Greetings from Winnipeg, host of the 2015 Grey Cup; The Flag Shop Ottawa stands dejected after a lost bet with The Flag Shop Edmonton.
Left to Right: Greetings from Winnipeg, host of the 2015 Grey Cup; The Flag Shop Ottawa stands dejected after a lost bet with The Flag Shop Edmonton.

There was time for a little fun though. As the Grey Cup approached, The Flag Shops in Edmonton and Ottawa made a friendly wager. The losing team’s shop had to post a selfie with the winning team’s flag. Well we all know how that turned out…poor Alan.

December

Left to Right: An around the world theme for a Santa Claus parade in Fredericton, NB; The Flag Shop Saskatoon did an informative series on the flags of 'Christmas.'
Left to Right: An around the world theme for a Santa Claus parade in Fredericton, NB; The Flag Shop Saskatoon did an informative series on the flags of ‘Christmas.’

Finally the holidays are upon us and the year is ending. Things took a decidedly global turn as the Santa Claus parade in New Brunswick had a theme of ‘Around the World.’ Meanwhile, The Flag Shop Saskatoon has been posting a very informative series all about the flags of Christmas.

 

That brings an end to our trip down memory lane. We hope that your 2015 was as eventful and rewarding as ours was and we wish you nothing but the best in 2016!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

– The Flag Shop

Actually, The Flag Shop New Brunswick is going to save all their wishes so that it will stop snowing…

Kooza in Vancouver

With the days getting shorter and grayer, we look forward to late fall activities. The bright purple of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza banners makes a welcome contrast to the November gloom.

Kooza (1)Kooza (6)

This is not our first time making their beautiful banners; we also produced banners for their Totem show last summer.

Totem (1) Totem (2)

Now those banners have been given new life by Common Thread Co-op. They are currently available for purchase in our Vancouver store.

IMG_2688

Kooza is playing until December 27th!


For more information on Common Thread Co-op, please visit their website: www.commonthreadcoop.ca. To find our more about the Cirque de Soleil show Kooza (and maybe even purchase tickets) visit their website here: www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/kooza.

 

A Field of Flags at the George Derby Centre

George-Derby-(29)

It was an overcast day, but still bright and surprisingly rain-free, when 200 high-school students descended upon the lawn of the George Derby Centre, a veteran care facility in Burnaby, B.C. Within minutes the lawn was filled with thousands of flags, winding down either side of the pathways, dispersed over the grass and a few more adventurously placed in the nooks and crannies of the nearby trees and shrubs. The sight is one to behold, sombre and patriotic, the flags creating a meditative walk of Remembrance for members of the nearby community.

George-Derby-(39)

Meanwhile, sparks of joy emerged from the haphazard way the flags have been arranged. Children of all ages visited the centre, from the high school across the road and the neighbouring elementary school, to assist with the flag planting. This activity gave the children a healthy way to commemorate Remembrance Day by allowing them to participate, rather than only observe. Veterans of many ages were present to greet the children and interact with them as they excitedly determined the most beautiful location for their flag. Their energy brought smiles to fragile heroes and added life to the display that will surely remain long after they’ve returned to their classrooms.

George-Derby-(9)

Left to right: Cpl. Daniela Panesar, Pamela Cole, S.Sgt. Maj. John A. Buis

Finally, the most precious flags were saved for a place of honour. A few flags had been inscribed with messages of remembrance and gratitude for the Centre’s residents. One flag summarized it all. It read, “In very loving memory to all the veterans who called George Derby home.”

We would like to add a “Thank You!”

George-Derby-(53)


The George Derby Centre cares for 300 aging and wounded veterans and could use your support! If you would like to Pledge a Flag yourself, there is still time (and flags) to do so. Be sure to visit www.georgederby.ca to find out more about the Centre and to make a donation today! The flags will remain on the grounds until November 12th, at which point that large group of high-school students will return to undo their handiwork.

The Flag Shop produced all of the flags for this event, they are customized, water resistant paper flags that were specially printed for George Derby. For more information on how you can create your own Remembrance Day flag display, contact The Flag Shop nearest you or visit our Remembrance Day website.

Commendable Customers: Decoda Literacy Project


The Flag Shop has been very fortunate to work with amazing individuals and organizations all over the country. With our ‘Commendable Customer’ blog entries we want to focus the spotlight on the groups that make our business thrive and our communities better.


Decoda is derived from the word “decode,” which means to create understanding; to unravel the mystery – literacy helps us make sense of the modern world.” – Decoda website

Decoda Literacy Project is the only BC-wide organization that works to support individuals, families and communities with literacy improvement projects. With 15% of British Columbians at a Level 1 literacy rate or below, organizations like Decoda are important in the economic resiliency of our province. Literacy makes people more employable which can raise the standard of living for individuals and families.

We are proud to have worked with Decoda this year as they made a big splash across the province for Literacy Month in September. From Prince George to right here in Vancouver, cities flew custom-printed flags from The Flag Shop to draw awareness to the importance of literacy. Custom paper flags and buttons were also used to celebrate the events.

Congratulations to Decoda in their success this year and may they continue to grow and help people thrive through literacy!


If you would like to learn more about this great organization, please visit their website: decoda.ca.

Celebrate a Banner Year…with banners! (PHOTOS)

This year, 2015, is a very important year for the local universities in Vancouver.  Simon Fraser University turned 50 years old, and not to outdone, the University of British Columbia turned 100 years old!

Of course we know that there is no better way to celebrate a big anniversary than with street banners to match, so we’re quite glad that we were able to work with both of these amazing schools and produce hundreds of banners to go up all over Metro Vancouver.

Nearing the end of summer, we managed to get out there and photograph a few of them looking great with the Metro Vancouver city skyline. Photography fans, be sure you’re #lookingup the next time you’re on a photowalk!

A Celebration of Diversity in Moncton, NB

Is it the United Nations? No, it's the inclusive cafeteria at Evergreen Park Elementary School.

Is it the United Nations? No, it’s the inclusive cafeteria at Evergreen Park Elementary School.

For Evergreen Park Elementary in Moncton, N.B. flags go hand in in hand with every new school year. As New Brunswick becomes more culturally diverse, so do its students, and this school has found a great way to make new students feel welcome.

Adorning the walls of their cafeteria are flags of the world. Every flag represents a student or students that attend Evergreen and whose cultural heritage lies in another country. These flags serve to create a friendly environment for students and to remind everyone that Evergreen is an inclusive place that supports the ideals of multi-culturalism.

Madame Antigone Panagiotakis, the school’s principal, had this to say about the flag program:

“We are very pleased that Evergreen Park School’s student population is becoming increasingly diversified, with many international families choosing to make Evergreen Park School their home.  In order to welcome our international students, we decided to display their country’s flag. These flags celebrate our school’s multicultural flavor, create an inclusive environment, and prepare our students for today’s global community.”

The Province of New Brunswick has an official policy on multiculturalism which states:

“New Brunswick’s policy on multiculturalism strives for a unity which does not deny or eradicate diversity but which recognizes and transcends it. At the same time, it seeks to ensure that in acknowledging and appreciating cultural diversity, these differences, so accentuated, do not become a cause of discriminatory treatment to impede individuals in their desire to become an integral part of the larger community.”

The flags serve this initiative by visually accentuating the differences in culture while at the same time encouraging equality through hanging equally sized flags at equal heights in the same shared space. They also help to beautify a public space in the school, making it a more desirable community environment.

Great job Evergreen Park!!

—-

World flag collections are a great way to celebrate diversity in your community. To start your own international flag collection, visit the World Flag section of our online store.

UPDATE: The school has been featured by Global News!