BC Wildfires Continue to Rage in Our Communities

We Can All Pitch in to Help BC Recover

It’s almost incomprehensible to believe BC has had over 1100 fires and more than 300 buildings have been destroyed in wildfires this year. The wildfires have affected communities in the areas of Kamloops, 100 Mile House, Prince George, Cache Creek, Kelowna, Williams Lake and many others, burning more than 1,054,000 hectares, across our province. Many are facing loss, devastation and uncertainty as the wildfires continue to rage right here in our own backyard. Our neighbours, friends and families need our help now, more than ever!

July 7, 2017: A wildfire burns on a mountain near Ashcroft, B.C. Image Source: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

This is our chance to be part of something big! When we realized the month of September is all about charity and peace, we decided to go a little crazy. The United Nations established the International Day of Charity to focus attention on helping others. Officially declared by the UN General Assembly in 2012, September 5 was chosen in memory of Mother Teresa, who passed away on this date in 1997. Throughout her life, she dedicated herself to helping the helpless, poor and sick. Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.”

The International Day of Peace, known as “Peace Day” is recognized around the world on September 21, and provides a shared date for all of humanity to commit to living in peace and rise above all differences.

We can all be a part of a huge ripple effect which will bring hope and relief to those who need it now. At The Flag Shop, we care about connecting with our community and in our daily work we bring peace and happiness through every relationship and every connection we make with others. It’s through these connections where we find our joy.

For the month of September, we will do everything we possibly can to make a real and positive difference in the lives of those who are suffering. Our President, Susan Braverman said, “The devastation of the wildfires in BC is on-going, even if it isn’t always the day’s top story.” She added, “People impacted by fires are still facing uncertainty and any form of struggle gets in the way of peace.”

Image Source: The Canadian Press

In these words attributed to Mother Teresa:
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received; how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.’ Hungry not only for bread – but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing, but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks, but homeless because of rejection.”

We’ll be announcing our plans on Tuesday, September 5, which happens to coincide with the International Day of Charity.

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Get ready to be a part of something bigger! And join us as we change the world one flag at a time!

Pacific National Exhibition – A Vancouver Mainstay Since 1910

The Fair at the PNE Opening Day: Saturday, August 19, 2017

The PNE has been a Vancouver institution since it first began way back in 1910. Kids of all ages still get excited over the Fair at the PNE opening day, which is coming up quicker than you can say, “Roasted BBQ Cricket Burger!”

The Fair at the PNE is a long-awaited highlight of summer in Vancouver, offering activities and fun for everyone: Midway rides for adrenaline junkies, fair foods for the foodies, and a mind-boggling line-up of live musical performances, to name just a few. This year the fair runs from August 19 – September 4, with planned closures on August 21 and 28.

Image Source: Jenn Chan Photography / Flickr

We have been supplying the PNE with street banners for many years, to engage and inform the public while creating anticipation about the fair. We love being a part of making our city streets, bridges and skyline even more beautiful. If you’re in the Vancouver area, you can see the banners for yourself on East Hastings and on the Granville Street Bridge.

Our President, Susan Braverman said, “Believe it or not, I was still in high school when The Flag Shop first began making street banners for the PNE. That alone paints quite a picture!” She added, “The Fair at the PNE is such an important event in our community, it’s not easy to put into words what it means to be working with the PNE for all these years. To say it’s an honour and a privilege would be an understatement!”

PNE Street Banners

What’s New This Year at the PNE
In recognition of Canada 150, the RCMP Musical Ride will perform at the fair as part of its Canada-wide tour. The musical ride has been a Canadian tradition since 1876. Mounties wearing the Red Serge ride a full troop of 32 black Hanoverian horses and perform precision drills reflecting the historic cavalry techniques that were once a part of RCMP training.

Image Source: John McQuarrie

The Hockey Hall of Fame’s Legends of Hockey Exhibit is a must-see for all hockey lovers. This massive exhibit will feature many of the game’s greatest players and hockey memorabilia including photography, video and artifacts. If you love the national winter sport of Canada, this one’s for you.

Image Source: PNE – Legends of Hockey Exhibit

If kettle corn, funnel cakes and beaver tails are more your thing, you won’t be disappointed. For those looking for something new and adventurous, how about cricket fries or deep fried Jello? Yum!

Image Source: PNE

Don’t miss the incredible line-up of live performances at the PNE Amphitheatre:

  • Saturday, August 19: Mother Mother
  • Sunday, August 20: Billy Currington
  • Tuesday, August 22: The Pointer Sisters
  • Wednesday, August 23: High Valley
  • Thursday, August 24: ZZ Top
  • Friday, August 25: Chicago
  • Saturday, August 26: Colin James
  • Sunday, August 27: Huey Lewis and The News
  • Tuesday, August 29: Tom Cochrane with Red Rider
  • Wednesday, August 30: The B-52s
  • Thursday, August 31: The Doobie Brothers
  • Friday, September 1: Rick Springfield
  • Saturday, September 2: The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo

For more information about the Fair at the PNE, please visit their official website.

Celebration of Canada 150, the Canoe, and Indigenous Culture

The Gibsons Paddle Club Sunshine Coast Journey

We’re still hearing inspiring stories of Canada’s 150th birthday. This week, we highlight the Sunshine Coast Canoe Journey, an epic trip planned by the Gibsons Paddle Club. The journey, which took place in June, honoured Canada’s 150th birthday, the canoe, and the First Nation culture of cooperation. And what a sight it was to see every canoe adorned with the Canadian Native Flag!

Kwakwaka’wakw artist Curtis Wilson is the designer of the Canadian Native Flag, and his inspiration was to create a design that represents both his aboriginal heritage and at the same time, his Canadian heritage. The Flag Shop President, Susan Braverman said, “Curtis and I just spoke last week and I learned that people across Canada love this flag as much as I do!” She adds, “This beautiful design promotes unity among all Canadians and I was so excited to hear steps are now in motion to rename the flag as the Canadian Aboriginal Flag.”

On June 13, nine canoes from across BC and Alberta met at the Backeddy Marina in Edgemont. Placing the canoes in the water, the group held their first of many circles. This is a tradition which has been passed down by generations of first nation paddlers. They told stories and heard drumming by Andy Johnson and Terry Aleck.

On day two they paddled in the early morning drizzle through the calm waters of the Skookumchuck, as eagles flew overhead. The tide was with the team, who stopped for lunch on the Inlet. After a very windy afternoon, the team struggled to pull over to their campsite for the night. Sechelt elder Barb Higgins told stories, captivating the paddlers after a long day of paddling.

Still rainy and windy on the third day, plans changed and the team paddled to Poise Island – sacred to the Sechelt Nation – and while there, they heard moving stories of illness and death at the time when they first encountered settlers. Hauling the canoes out of the water, they were welcomed by school children and teachers, who braved the rain to greet them. The team portaged their canoes across town, escorted by an RCMP patrol car. With the heavy downpour, the Sechelt band opened the daycare centre where they were able to take shelter. They spent the evening at the Sechelt Longhouse and were treated to a cultural celebration and feast.

On day four, the weather improved and the paddling crews prepared for a long paddle to Gibsons. Stopping for lunch at Roberts Creek, the grandmothers prepared a lunch and a local ukulele band sang and played while the paddlers rested.

After the long paddle the day before, the fifth day was a day of rest. Out of town visitors experienced the beautiful ocean playground, paddling around Keats Island and the Paisleys. Then they were off to the Jazz Festival and supper at Gibsons Public Market., It was a festive evening of good speeches, great food, and dancing!

On the final day, crews paddled a long 38 km back to Vancouver. The weather was misty and cool and the tides and currents were with them. Finally, through the mist they saw the first buildings of West Vancouver. Wes Nahanee of the Squamish First Nation and the West Vancouver Police greeted the paddlers as the epic journey came to an end.

Congratulations to the organizers and paddling crew on this important journey, paying homage to the people of our great nation, the canoe, and the first nation culture of cooperation.

For more information, please visit Gibsons Paddle Club’s web site.

West End BIA Supports Vancouver Pride

Denman. Davie. Robson. Three Great Streets. One Amazing Neighbourhood.

That’s right – One Amazing Neighbourhood! That’s thanks to the West End Business Improvement Association (WEBIA), an amazing non-profit organization supporting businesses along the West End’s three main commercial streets.

Covering Davie, Denman and Robson, each street has its own designated colour highlighting its uniqueness. Denman is blue, reflecting the ocean and blue summer skies. Robson is green, symbolizing the greenery of Stanley Park. And Davie is purple, in recognition of Davie Village’s role in supporting the Gay Pride Movement.

Speaking of Pride, it’s time to celebrate in Vancouver and we’re thrilled to be part of it all! The Flag Shop has been a supporter of the Gay Pride Movement dating back 40 years, when we first produced rainbow flags and decals for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. We’re getting so excited about Pride Fest coming up this Sunday we’re even testing out our Pride booth in The Flag Shop parking lot!

Join us on Sunday, August 6 at Sunset Beach from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. We love this festival because it’s a safe place to celebrate individual uniqueness and self-expression, while at the same time it’s a collective expression against bullying, oppression and violence. We hope to see you at our booth where we’ll have everything you need to express your pride! The 39th Annual Pride Parade is a huge part of Pride Fest and will run that day from noon – 3 p.m., starting on Robson, turning down Denman, and then onto Beach Ave. On Friday, August 4th, Davie Village will be the place to be for one of Vancouver’s best outdoor parties, the Davie Street Block Party.

Vancouver Pride Festival 2016. Image Source: Vancouver Pride Society

The Flag Shop President, Susan Braverman said, “It’s a very important weekend for the West End BIA, with the block party on Friday, the Celebration of Light on Saturday and the Pride Parade on Sunday!” She adds, “We’ve been working with the West End BIA for years now and I have to say it warms my heart to see the strong sense of community and public engagement, right in the neighbourhood where I grew up – and it’s all because of the dedicated work of the BIA.”

This week’s blog is a big shout out to the WEBIA, home to the best restaurants, stunning beaches, and of course, Pride! The West End attracts thousands of visitors to the area every year for the Pride Parade, so if you ask us, it’s pretty clear the WEBIA is doing a bang up job fulfilling its mission to promote and revitalize the West End.

Image Source: West End BIA

For more information about the West End BIA, and its Pride activations in the West End, please visit the WEBIA website.

For information about Pride in Vancouver, visit the Vancouver Pride Society website.

See you at Pride Fest!