Mother’s Day: The “Hallmark Holiday” Worth Celebrating

Sunday May 13th is the Day We Celebrate Our Mothers

By Susan Braverman


I’ve never cared much for “Hallmark Holidays”, but when it comes to the lifetime I’ve spent celebrating my mom on Mother’s Day, I definitely make an exception! Being a former elementary school teacher, I know first-hand that starting from when our children are in school, teachers often help them prepare gifts and cards in advance of Mother’s Day, so moms everywhere can receive something special on the second Sunday of May. I also know that for some these hand-crafted gifts are so precious that they’re often kept as mementos of years gone by.


Mother’s Day: How Did It Start, Anyway?
Some of the earliest-known celebrations of mothers date way back to ancient Greek civilization, honouring Rhea, the mother of the Gods. Later on, in 1870, Julia Ward Howe of Massachusetts wrote “The Mother’s Day Proclamation” calling for woman to unite for peace.[1] Then in 1908, Anna Jarvis of West Virginia held a private memorial celebration in remembrance of her mother. The following year, she planned a church service, celebrating mothers, which was attended by more than 400 children and their mothers. In 1914, Mother’s Day became an official holiday in the US,[2] and today, it is celebrated all over the world.


Traditions Around the World
Mother’s Day is about honouring all mothers, and especially showing appreciation to our own moms. Here’s a quick view of some interesting traditions from different parts of the world:

In Germany, Mother’s Day was declared an official holiday in 1933. Early traditions included gifting mothers with medals of gold, silver and bronze, for bearing children.[3] Today, people gather to treat their mothers to a special meal, which typically ends with a special dessert called Rote Grüetze.

Rote Grüetze – Source:

In Ethiopia, they take Mother’s Day celebrations very seriously, so much so that they hold feasts called “Antrosht”, which last for three whole days. Children gather the ingredients for preparing traditional hash. Girls are responsible for the vegetables, spices and dairy, such as cheese and butter, while boys bring the lamb or bull. [4] Unlike in the western world, where moms usually take a break from cooking, mothers in Ethiopia prepare the meals for the feasts.

In Japanese, “Haha-no-hi” means Happy Mother’s Day, and sons and daughters greet their mothers with this expression. Most commonly, mothers are given carnations, symbolizing the sweetness and purity of a mother’s love.[5]

And, did you know? “Mama” is one of the most universal words, appearing in the 10 most commonly spoken languages of the world, reflected as: māma, mama, mamá, ma, mama, mamã, maa, mama, haha and mamī. Another cool fact: 3.4 billion people of the world speak Mandarin (Mãma), Hindi (māṃ), English (mama), or Arabic (māma).[6]

Doreen and Susan Braverman – 1971

Celebrating All Mothers of The Flag Shop
My mom, Doreen Braverman, founded The Flag Shop in 1975, when I was a seven year-old girl. When I think about those early days, I can truthfully say that I spent more time in the shop than I did at home! Flash forward 35 years to 2010, when I purchased the company and became President. I still remember bringing my baby to the office, just days after she was born, so I can hardly believe that today, my daughter Alex is 25 years old! This tradition of mothers and daughters at The Flag Shop is all thanks to my amazing mom, who has given of herself so much. I just can’t do enough to express my gratitude and love! Without question, if it were not for my mom, I wouldn’t be writing this blog, and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today!


Flowers, Phone Calls and Text Messages
According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada, in 2011 there were 9.8 million mothers in Canada, which includes biological, adoptive, and stepmoms.[7] That adds up to millions of flowers[8] and cards given and received. For a Mother’s Day snapshot, representing only one of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, SaskTel predicts some astonishing figures. In the province of Saskatchewan (home of The Flag Shop Saskatoon), call volumes are expected to reach 1,060,000[9] and text messages are predicted to reach 10.2 million,[10] for well-wishers, this coming Sunday.

As our mothers taught us long ago, tuck in your shirt, get a hair cut, use your manners, and don’t forget to call your mom!

Happy Mother’s Day!

[3] [4][5]

May 4th is United Nations Anti-Bullying Day

At The Flag Shop EVERY Day is Anti-Bullying Day

By Susan Braverman

As I reach a personal milestone celebrating my 50th birthday today, it’s a natural time of reflection, recalling some of the defining moments of my past. At the same time, I’m looking towards the future with excitement and enthusiasm for all that is yet to come!

Susan Braverman

Tomorrow, May 4th, is the United Nations Anti-Bullying Day[1], and I can’t help but to remember my experiences as a youth in grade 8, having to change schools to escape the torment of my bully. Though many years have passed, it doesn’t make the emotional trauma of those days any less real. I’m just so thankful that I had the support of family to help me through those difficult times. I’m so glad they knew to reassure me it was not my fault, that they knew to talk about it with school leaders, and that they gave me real steps to take to address the bullying behaviour. Sadly, bullying continues to impact many school-aged children and youth today. According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada has the 9th highest rate of bullying among 13-year-olds across 35 countries.[2] CIHR findings indicate that exposure to bullying increases risk of suicidal thoughts,[3] and that 73% of victims reported experiencing cyber-bullying.[4]


With today’s technology, kids are faced with the harsh reality of cyber-bullying, which is much more difficult to escape compared to the bullying of my youth. With cyber-bullying, a child or youth is targeted, using cell phones and other devices, to harass, embarrass, threaten or humiliate.[5] In many cases, this “drama”, hating, or gossip can be relentless, spreading quickly, and causing severe damage to self-esteem and mental health.[6]

On May 4th, it’s a time to talk about, and take a stand against bullying. Other special days set aside to create focus around bullying include: Pink Shirt Day, Day of Pink, and Blue Shirt Day.

My team and I are deeply honoured to support this cause, doing all that we can by providing schools and other organizations with anti-bullying flags, and promotional items such as pins, crests, and lanyards, to help fight the good fight! We are proud of our school fundraising program, enabling schools to increase awareness, and think about the serious impacts of bullying, while raising funds for school programming.

Grace Fenton

The Creative Genius Behind the Design
We first met Grace Fenton in 2014, when she was a grade 7 student from Albert Mines, New Brunswick. Grace created an anti-bullying design for a Pink Shirt Day contest at her school. When The Flag Shop learned about it, we recognized an amazing opportunity to support anti-bullying efforts, while honouring Grace’s achievement. Her original design holds a positive message, representing the importance of helping those who may be experiencing bullying. Grace’s flag was hoisted for the first time in 2014, and later that year The Flag Shop was given exclusive rights to use her design, supporting anti-bullying efforts across Canada. We love the design and its message so much that we didn’t stop at flags, so take a look at our full product line! Grace Fenton, thank you for the inspiration!

I AM SOMEONE Rally – 2015

Kudos to the Anti-Bullying Champions in Our Communities
In Canada and beyond, we know of many organizations which are dedicated to wiping out bullying. Days like May 4th are an important part of highlighting these efforts. While we can’t name all of them, thank you to the following organizations which provide important resources and support to address bullying: –
Bullying Canada –
Bully Free Alberta –
Erase Bullying –
I am Stronger –
Pink Shirt Day –
Stop A Bully –

EVERY Day is Anti-Bullying Day
If you’re wondering what you can do to put a stop to bullying and help to create a world in which our children’s children can live peacefully, join us as we continue to educate ourselves about bullying and prevention, and commit to taking action at the first hints of bullying. Make EVERY day Anti-Bullying Day!



What on Earth Are You Doing About Earth Day?

Be the Change that Helps to Protect Our Planet

On April 22nd every year, Earth Day is celebrated around the world. It is a day set aside to think about what we can do individually, and collectively, to protect Earth’s environment.


Celebrating and Protecting Planet Earth
Earth Day began in the US, when Gaylord Nelson, a Senator from Wisconsin, was inspired to create a national day to focus on the importance of protecting the environment. In January 1969, an oil well blew out off the shore of Santa Barbara, California, killing more than 100,000 ocean animals, including seals, birds, and dolphins.[1] In the wake of the devastation, Nelson was inspired to lead a “national teach-in on the environment.” Working with Dennis Hayes, a graduate of Harvard, together with a group of volunteers, the first Earth Day was observed across the US, on April 22, 1970. The national event was attended by an estimated 20 million people.[2] Rallies took place from coast-to-coast, with demonstrators giving a voice to environmental issues, such as the use of pesticides, preservation of wildlife and wilderness, toxic dumps, and industrial pollution.[3]

Gathering straw used to soak up oil spill – Source: LA Times

Every Day is Earth Day
In 1990 Earth Day expanded globally, engaging and unifying 200 million people across 141 countries,[4] reflecting the role that each one of us has in preserving our beautiful planet. Today, 48 years after the first-ever Earth Day, the legacy continues.

John Denver at Earth Day 1990 – Source: Flickr by John Platt

Here are 10 simple ideas you can put into practice today, and every day, to help the environment:
1.   Instead of buying books, read e-books or go to the library.
2.   Walk or ride your bike to work or school instead of driving.
3.   Go paperless.
4.   Give up bottled water and use filtered or tap water instead.
5.   Plant a garden.
6.   Boycott plastic straws.
7.   Repair. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
8.   Use rechargeable batteries.
9.   Conserve water and electricity.
10. Have a vegetarian day once a week.


Just for fun, here’s a quick Earth Day Quiz to test your knowledge of Earth (True or False):
1.   Earth is the 3rd planet from the sun.
2.   65% of the Earth’s surface is under water.
3.   Everest is the highest point on planet Earth.
4.   The largest ocean on Earth is the Atlantic.
5.   Earth is the only planet in our solar system that is not named after a god.

Check your answers at the end of the blog. (No peeking!)

Mount Everest – Source:

At The Flag Shop, we care about sustainability, and recognize that we have a responsibility to model social consciousness in business. Echotex®, developed by The Flag Shop, is a 100%-recycled banner fabric, which is made of 65% pre-consumer polyester fiber and 35% PET (plastic bottles) waste. Echotex® offers socially-responsible, vibrant, and durable options for street banners. To take a closer look, please visit our Echotex® gallery. To further reduce plastic waste, we also offer The Flag Shop Reusable Shopping Bag. If you’re looking for Earth Flags and decals, to help you celebrate our planet, we’ve got those, too!

Don’t Miss a Thing!
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Earth Flag

On April 22nd – and every day – what on Earth will you do about Earth Day?


Quiz Key: 1: True, 2: False (70%), 3: True, 4: False (Pacific), 5: True

Tartan or Plaid – What’s the Difference?

Celebrating Tartan Day on April 6 in Canada and Beyond

You Say Plaid, I Say Tartan
A tartan is a pattern of criss-crossing horizontal and vertical stripes, of multiple widths and colours. Originally made of woven wool, the tartans of today are made with various textiles. Tartans are specifically associated with Scotland, and Scottish kilts usually have tartan patterns. Often called “plaid” in North America, a plaid in Scotland refers to a tartan cloth worn over the shoulder, as an accessory, or a plain blanket for a bed.

Tartans – Source:

Tartan Day Observed in Canada and Around the World
Tartan Day is celebrated by Scots around the world. In Canada, about 13% or 4.8 million[1] people are of Scottish descent. In the US, between 8% and 10%[2] of the population claims to be of Scottish descent. Argentina’s population includes approximately 100,000[3] people of Scottish descent, which is the largest population of Scots in a non-English-speaking country.

Kirkin of the Tartans – Source:

National Tartan Day was first proposed at a meeting of the Federation of Scottish Clans in Nova Scotia, in 1986. During this meeting, the following motion was put forward: “That we establish a day known as Tartan Day. This is to be a day chosen to promote Scottish Heritage by the most visible means. The wearing of the Scottish attire, especially in places where the kilt is not ordinarily worn, i.e.: work, play or worship.” Then, in 2010, the Minister of Canadian Heritage officially declared April 6 to be Tartan Day in Canada. This date was chosen because it was on this date in 1320 that the Declaration of Arbroath (the Scottish Declaration of Independence) was signed.

Canadian, Provincial & Territorial Tartans – Source:

The Maple Leaf Tartan
On March 9, 2011, the Maple Leaf Tartan was declared an official national symbol of Canada. This tartan was created by David Weiser, in 1964, in preparation of the 100th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada (1967).The Maple Leaf Tartan is a symbol of Canadian pride, worn by Canadians of every heritage and ethnicity, on important national days such as Tartan Day and Canada Day. Based on the colours of the maple leaf, throughout four distinct seasons, the tartan’s pattern reflects the greens of summer, the gold of early fall, the red colour of the season of the first frost, and finally, the brown of the leaves on the ground before the arrival of winter.[4] To show just how important this tartan is, as an official national symbol of Canada, other official symbols include: the maple tree, the Royal Coat of Arms of Canada, the Canada flag, and the beaver.

Royal Coat of Arms of Canada

Tartan Day Events Across Canada
There are so many Tartan Day events going on across Canada, and we found a few to share! Get your tartan on and celebrate Scottish heritage and pride at an event in your community!

Red Deer Scottish Country Dance Workshop and Ball
Friday, April 6 – Sunday, April 8, 2018
Red Deer, Alberta
Classes will be available in two levels, including Beginner/Intermediate, and Social.
For more information, visit the Red Deer Scottish Country Dancers website.

VanIsle Workshop and Ball
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Victoria, British Columbia
Presented by the Vancouver Island Scottish Country Dance Society
For more information, visit the  Vancouver Island Scottish Country Dance Society website.

A Ceilidh at Cartier Square
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Ottawa, Ontario
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the RCMP Tartan, and the National Pipe Band.
For more information, visit the Scottish Society of Ottawa website.

National Tartan Day Celebration
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Ottawa, Ontario
Join the Sons of Scotland Pipe Band at a concert celebrating Scottish heritage on Parliament Hill.
For more information, visit the Sons of Scotland Pipe Band website.

Maple Leaf Tartan Flag

Want to Know Where to Get Your Tartan Flags or Scottish Flags?
All Flag Shop locations across Canada carry Tartan flags, and Scotland flags known also as the St. Andrew’s Cross, or the Saltire, and the Royal Standard of Scottish flags. If decals and lapel pins are more your thing, we’ve got those, too! Need a tartan? Whatever you can imagine, we’ve got more, and we’re here to help you celebrate Tartan Day, and its rich Scottish heritage!

For interesting stories and information about flags, and to stay on top of community events taking place across Canada, remember to subscribe in the upper right of our blog page, so you don’t miss a thing! And, don’t worry, if you’re not hanging off of every word, unsubscribing is easy!

Happy Tartan Day!

[1] 2016 Census – Canada – Ethnic Origins of Population




Newfoundland Joins Canada and Nunavut Carves Out Territory

Observing Important Dates in Our Nation’s History

Two major Canadian milestones are coming up for neighbours, Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador! On March 31st, 2018, Newfoundland and Labrador celebrates 69 years of Confederation, and on April 1st, 2018, Nunavut celebrates 19 years as the third territory of Canada.

Newfoundland and Labrador – Happy 69th Birthday!
Though often shortened to Newfoundland, in 2001 its name was officially changed to “Newfoundland and Labrador.” The newer name reflects the large area of land on the continental mainland. It was March 31, 1949, when Newfoundland joined Confederation, making it the youngest Canadian province. From 1907 – 1949 it was a British dominion, as were Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Northern Lights, Ferryland, Newfoundland and Labrador – Source:

Interesting Facts about Newfoundland and Labrador
1. Strange Time Zone
Newfoundland and Labrador has a 30-minute time zone, which is quite unusual. Newfoundland and Labrador is 90 minutes ahead of Eastern Time, and 30 minutes ahead of Atlantic Time.

2. One of the Oldest Settlements in North America
St. John’s, the provincial capital, is one of the oldest settlements in North America. There are several possible origins for its name, including being named after explorer John Cabot, who may have sailed into its harbour in 1497. Water St. in downtown St. John’s is reputed to be North America’s oldest street.

Water St, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, August 1945 – Source:

3. Brightly-painted Houses
Row houses are painted in bright and vibrant colours so that ships coming into St. John’s harbour can see land more easily. This makes even more sense since fog is a common occurrence, averaging 200+ days per year.

Row Houses in Newfoundland and Labrador – Source:

Nunavut – Happy 19th Birthday!
Nunavut is an Inuit word which means “our land.” On April 1, 1999, the eastern part of the Northwest Territories became Nunavut, dividing the massive territory. This change was decades in the making, and involved the largest land claims settlement in Canadian history. The Inuit gained control over 350,000 square kilometres of land, including mineral rights to a portion of the land. The creation of Nunavut brought about the first change to our nation’s map since Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation on March 31, 1949.

Sunset in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut – Photo by: K. Holben

Interesting Facts about Nunavut
1. Day and Night in Nunavut
The sun rises and sets differently in Nunavut than what most Canadians experience. This territory’s earliest sunset happens in mid-December, at 1:40 p.m. The latest sunrise takes place closer to Christmas at 9:25 a.m. During the summer months, the capital, Iqaluit has more than 20 hours of sunlight every day! Hard to imagine for most!

2. Inuit Country Food
“Country Food” in a term used to describe traditional Inuit foods. These include caribou, whale, arctic char and seal meat. Since the earliest days, country foods were consumed for day-to-day survival. Today, these foods create family and cultural connections, and are a huge part of the Inuit values of sharing and caring for one another.

Arctic Char (Pipsi) Drying – Source:

3. The Symbolic Beauty of the Nunavut Flag
Adopted on April 1, 1999, the blue and yellow colours symbolize the richness of the land, sea and sky. The red reflects Canada, and the Inuksuk at the centre represents stone structures in human likeness. Inuksuks guide people on the land, and are also used to mark special or sacred locations. The star is the North Star or “Niqirtsuituq”, which is symbolizes the leadership of elders in the community.

The Flag Shop is here to help you celebrate all that’s great about your province or territory, (including Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut, of course!) with flags of all sizes, as well as friendship pins, crests, window clings, and decals! See the vibrant array, including provincial sets!

For interesting stories and information about flags, and to stay on top of community events happening across Canada, bookmark our blog. Remember to subscribe in the upper right of the blog page, so you don’t miss a thing! And, don’t worry, if you’re not hanging off every word, unsubscribing is easy!

March 25th is Greek Independence Day

Greeks Celebrate Freedom and Annunciation (What’s that?)

A Quick Introduction to Greece
OPA! The official name of Greece is the Hellenic Republic. This breathtaking country has thousands of islands, including places such as Mykonos and Santorini. As one of the most mountainous countries in Europe, it is home to the well-known Mount Olympus, which has more than 50 peaks. The highest of these peaks is an impressive 9570’. You get the idea – it’s majestic! Today, Greece is an independent republic, full of indescribable natural beauty and cultural pride – but it wasn’t always that way.

Santorini, Greece – Source:

March 25th – A Very Big Day
March 25th is a dual national holiday in Greece, important for both historical and religious reasons. It is known as Greek Independence Day, and also Annunciation Day.

What is Greek Independence Day?
Greek Independence Day marks the start of the War of Greek Independence. The war began nearly 200 years ago, on March 25th 1821, freeing Greece from Ottoman rule. The Ottoman Empire is also known as the Turkish Empire (or what would become modern-day Turkey). This fight for freedom brought an end to 400 long years of oppression, as well as the return of the land now known as modern-day Greece.

Battle Scene, Greek War of Independence by Georg Perlberg

What is Annunciation Day?

Annunciation Day is a day when the Greek Orthodox Church observes the “Celebration of the Annunciation.” Annunciation means announcement, and more specifically in Christianity, it is the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she was to give birth to the son of God. Interestingly, for Greeks given the names Evangelos, Evangelina, – and names originating from these – such as Evan, Eva, Vangelis, Angelo, Angela, or even Angie, it’s particularly special, because in Greek, “Evangelisimos” means annunciation. So, for all the Angelas out there, Happy Angie Day!

Annunciation Mosaic – Source:

How is Greek Independence Day celebrated?
In Greece, it is a public holiday, and many go to church in the morning to celebrate the Annunciation, and then go to a memorial service to mark Greek Independence. On this day, parades featuring Greek flags, people dressed in traditional clothing, and marching bands, take place all over Greece. Freedom and Annunciation come together on this day, acknowledging that during the time of Ottoman rule, it was the Greek Orthodox Church that helped Greeks in captivity to guard their faith, traditions, language, and culture.

Independence Day Parade Toronto, 2015 – Source:

Interesting Facts about Greek Independence and the Flag
1. Theo and Gio are Heroes
Theodoros Kolokotronis and Giorgos Karaiskakis are revolutionary heroes in Greek history who led the fight for Greece’s freedom in 1821.

2. Wearing Pompoms and Pleats
The distinct costume of white leggings and pleated skirts with pompom shoes was the traditional military uniform worn by elite soldiers during the battle against the Turks. The skirt has a whopping 400 pleats, each representing one year of suffering. The uniform is called an “Evzonoi.” Today, the Evzonoi is worn for traditional dance performances.

3. Traditional Food on Independence Day
On this day, Greeks everywhere enjoy crispy, fried cod with a garlic sauce called “bakaliaros skordalia.” While March 25th is during Lent, and fish would not normally be served, the Orthodox Church makes an exception for Annunciation.

4. Freedom and the Flag
The stripes on the flag of blue and white are said to represent the battle cry, “Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος!”, which means “Freedom or Death!” At The Flag Shop, we get excited about flag design history and details, and we also know the blue stripes symbolize freedom and the white, death.

5. The Hymn of Freedom – 158 Verses
The Greek national anthem, called “Hymn to Freedom” was originally a famous poem written by Dionysios Solomos. The poem contains a total of 158 verses! Only the first 24 verses are used in the Greek national anthem.

Greek Military Uniform – Source:

Where to Get Your Greek Flags?
We thought you’d never ask! All of our Flag Shop locations across Canada carry Greek flags in all sizes! We also have lapel pins, vinyl decals, car flags, pennant strings, paper flags, and crests. We are here to help you celebrate all things Greek! Be sure to let us know if you need a specific item, because you might be surprised to see what we can dig up in our warehouse.

Happy Greek Independence and Annunciation Day!

Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος!

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International Day of Happiness: March 20th, 2018

Join the Global Movement for a Happier World

March 20th is a pretty big day – not only is it the first day of spring, it’s also International Day of Happiness! What does this mean for Canadians and nations around the world? Also know as Happiness Day, this day is set aside for celebrating, and focusing on things that make you, and others around you, happy!

Happiness: Why Does It Matter?
Happiness matters to everyone. We all want to live fulfilling lives, and we want the same for our families and friends. Happiness is about our overall satisfaction with all parts of our lives. It is influenced by many things, including our external circumstances, our attitudes, the choices we make, and our sense of purpose.

What’s it to you?
We’re a pretty happy bunch here at The Flag Shop, and we know it can only be more of a good thing to focus on happiness on March 20, and to be a part of a world movement. Happiness is different things to different people, so what’s it to you?

The Flag Shop President, Susan Braverman, said, “This is a great day to choose happiness, because it’s so important to me that my staff come to work every day, and experience happy moments. This means walking in the door happy, and leaving happy. My goal is that their sense of well-being comes from their work satisfaction, and from the connections we all make with each other – and with our clients.” She added, “I believe that at the heart of achieving happiness is doing good for others whenever you can, having an attitude of gratitude, and of course, creating balance between work, rest and play.”

The UN and the history of Happiness Day
The United Nations (UN) is the world’s largest intergovernmental organization, made up of 193 member states, each having equal representation in the UN General Assembly. Canada has been a member of the UN since November 9, 1945, and joins hands with all member countries in the universal pursuit of happiness.

It was back in July of 2011, when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution identifying happiness a basic “human goal.” The resolution called for “a balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples.”

The first UN Conference on Happiness was held in April of 2012. It was at the conference that the UN announced International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on March 20, with the first one in 2013.

Pharrell Williams, singer songwriter, at the General Assembly during the special event on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness in 2015. Source: UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Scientific evidence points to improved well-being and increased happiness, identifying 10 Keys to Happier Living, listed here as the Great Dream:

Giving – Do things for others
Relating – Connect with people
Exercising – Take care of your body
Awareness – Live life mindfully
Trying Out – Keep learning new things
Direction – Set goals
Resilience – Find ways to bounce back
Emotions – Look for what’s good
Acceptance – Be comfortable with who you are
Meaning – Be part of something bigger

Take action for a happier world, join the Happiness Movement and get your hands on some cool stuff, including: A World Happiness Report and a World Happiness Guidebook.

We hope you’ll agree that pursuing happiness is a great thing, and we’re here to help you get ready for the big day! Contact us at any of our locations across Canada for products including pride Happy Face buttons and Happy Face tattoos, and United Nations flags. Of course, for a different kind of happiness, you might want to look at cocktail flags, or even flags of your favourite sports team. Let us know if you’re looking for a particular item, because you never can tell what we’ll find in our warehouse!

Have a Happy Happiness Day!

Leprechauns, Guinness and the Irish Flag

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: Saturday, March 17

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! On March 17, people everywhere, – Irish, or not – will celebrate with green drinks, Irish jigging, and parades!

St Patrick’s Day parade participants and their dogs in downtown Toronto. Source: CBC News – Trevor Dunn

What is St. Patrick’s Day and why is it important?
Also known as St. Paddy’s Day, this day is important because it marks the anniversary of the death of a Christian missionary named Patrick. He was born in 387, and died on March 17, 461. The day is celebrated in Ireland, and by all of the more than 70 million people of Irish descent around the world. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday and, for our friends in Newfoundland and Labrador, it is also an official holiday. In 1824, Irish Immigrants founded a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Montreal; today, it’s the longest-running parade in North America.

If you’re celebrating the day, you better wear green!
Green is one of the colours in Ireland’s tri-colour flag, which was first publicly flown in 1848 in the city of Waterford, by an Irish-American patriot named Thomas Francis Meagher. Ireland is known as the “Emerald Isle,” and green is symbolic of Ireland’s lush green landscapes.

Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is a modern-day tradition, for those who wish to be invisible to leprechauns (to avoid being pinched by them). Some humans pinch others, too (for not wearing green), but only as friendly reminders to stay away from “pinch-happy” leprechauns!

Image source: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Five Fun Facts about St. Paddy’s Day

1. It’s a Guinness Day!
During St. Patrick’s Day, the amount of Guinness consumed around the world reaches almost triple the usual amount! On a regular day, 5 million pints are poured, which jumps to 13 million pints, on March 17. Quick math tells us that’s an astonishing 150 pints per second!

2. There are No Girl Leprechauns!
If you’ve ever seen St. Paddy’s Day decorations showing female leprechauns, don’t get sucked in to the lies! According to Irish folklore, there is no such thing as girl leprechauns! Who knew?

3. Who is Maewyn the Brit?
St. Patrick was actually born in Britain and given the name Maewyn Succat. Don’t worry, we’re surprised, too! According to history, he was sold into slavery in Ireland as a teen. He escaped, returning to England. There, he became an ordained priest named Patrick.

4. Shamrocks are Everywhere!
Why do we think of shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day? Hint: It’s not about minty, green milkshakes! It is said that St. Patrick used the three leaves to symbolize the Holy Trinity when he introduced Christianity to the people of Ireland.

5. St. Patrick Himself Would Have Gotten Pinched!
St. Patrick would have been pinched plenty of times on his own feast day, because his preferred colour was blue. In fact, green only came to be commonly accepted as the colour of St. Patrick in the late 18th century, after it was associated with the Irish independence movement.

Image source: Steam Whistle Brewing’s Facebook page

Find a Celebration Near You!

There are so many events going on across Canada, and we found a few to share. So don’t be a big eejit! Follow the links, get out there, have a green drink and learn an Irish jig!

St. Patrick’s Day Blarney Stone Pub Kick-off
Saturday, March 10, 2018
10 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
The Blarney Stone in Gastown
Enjoy live music by The Shenanigans and DJ Zeus. Don’t miss the balloon drop at midnight!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Toronto
Sunday, March 11, 2018
12 noon
Starting at Bloor and St. George
This 30th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is sure to be a blast, hosted by the St. Patrick’s Parade Society.

St. Patrick’s Day Road Race – Calgary
Sunday, March 11, 2018
9:00 a.m.
Central Memorial High School
Calgary’s Original St. Patrick’s Day Road Race supports The Canadian Diabetes Association and The Calgary Road Runners.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Montreal
Sunday, March 18, 2018
12 noon
Starting at Ste- Catherine and du Fort
Be a part of the 195th St. Patrick’s Day parade, the oldest St, Paddy’s Day Parade in North America.

Quebec City
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Le Défilé – Quebec City
Saturday, March 24, 2018
12 noon
St. Patrick’s High School
Join the fun as Quebeckers and Irish celebrate their strong ties, dating back to the early 19th century when hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants first came to Québec.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade – Winnipeg
Sunday, March 18, 2018
2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Irish Association of Manitoba
Join in on the festivities and live entertainment, including the gloriously green 7th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Where to Get Your Irish Flags?
We’re so glad you asked! All of our Flag Shop locations across Canada carry Ireland flags, in all sizes! We also have crests, lapel pins, and decals. We are here to help you celebrate all things Irish! Be sure to tell us if you need a specific item, because you might be surprised to see what we can dig up in our warehouse.

We leave you with the words of an old Irish proverb: “If you’re enough lucky to be Irish… You’re lucky enough!”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Honouring Women Around the World

International Women’s Day: March 8th, 2018

It’s that time of year when we observe International Women’s Day (IWD), and we are thrilled to join Canadians and nations around the world in celebrating women and their contributions towards making the world a better place.

Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day 2018 is “#MyFeminism”, recognizing feminism as an important and powerful global movement which has resulted in the advancement of women. #MyFeminism is inspired by the people who have contributed to shaping Canada into a nation of freedom and equality. From the Canadian women of the 1800s who fought for the right to vote (known as the suffragists) to the advocates and activists of today who continue to work towards positive change, International Women’s Day honours these women.

International Women’s Year Conference – Mexico City 1975. Source: Washington State University

It was in 1975 that the United Nations recognized International Women’s Year. The UN later adopted a resolution designating March 8th as International Women’s Day. Today, International Women’s Day is observed around the globe, and in many countries is a national holiday. As a global day of recognition of women’s achievements and contributions, this day supports an important call to action: advancing women’s rights and gender equality.

Doreen and Susan Braverman

The Flag Shop has a strong heritage of leadership by women, which began in 1975 – fittingly in the same year as International Women’s Year. That was when Doreen Braverman founded the first-ever, full-service flag store in the world. Then, in 2010, Susan Braverman stepped in, purchasing the company and becoming President. Over the years, our business has brought countless opportunities, for women to grow and thrive in many ways, including social advancement, economic livelihood, innovation and creativity.

We love International Women’s because it reminds us where we come from, and provides opportunities to honour the invaluable contributions of our woman business owners of the franchise team: Le Flag Shop Montreal Owner-Manager, Ginette Bazergul; The Flag Shop Toronto Partners, Lilly and Ladan Siahpoosh; The Flag Shop Nova Scotia Owner, Debbie Hartlen; The Flag Shop Edmonton Owner, Phyllis Bright; and The Flag Shop Saskatoon Owner, Judy Denham. Of course, we can’t forget the women of the franchise management team and The Flag Shop Vancouver Head Office, who bring value to the table every day, contributing to The Flag Shop’s lasting legacy.

Source: InternationalWomen’

Join us as we celebrate International Women’s Day, to honour and advocate women, and to help create a brighter future for the daughters of all nations! On March 8th, add your own voice to all those who are calling out inequality, by using the hashtag #MyFeminism.

We know of many great events happening across Canada, and beyond! For information, or to attend an event in your community, check out a sampling at the links below:

Ottawa – Edmonton

IWD Walk in Her Shoes

Ottawa: Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – Edmonton: Saturday, March 24, 2018

This event challenges people from all walks of life to take 10,000 steps (7K walk), which represents the distance many women and girls in developing countries travel every day to reach the basic necessities of life, such as water.


IWD Celebration at Bandidas Taqueria

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – As a thriving women-owned business, Bandidas Taqueria, a restaurant on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive, will donate 100% of its profits to local organizations which serve women. It will also launch an art show highlighting feminist themes, which will run until April 21st, 2018.


IWD 8th Annual Luncheon

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – This lunch event will include inspiring keynote speakers Tracy Porteous, Executive Director of Ending Violence BC, and JR LaRose, of CFL and BC Lions fame, and the “Be More Than a Bystander” spokesman, to address the cause of ending violence against women.


IWD Time to Unite

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – Calling all change makers to unite and celebrate women who are making their mark, as they tell their stories, and speak their truths in the name of equality, justice and peace.

IWD Changing Lives Celebration

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – Event highlights include a spectacular fashion show by “Making Changes”, a community of women helping women and teenage girls through life’s transitions, by providing them with skills and resources to support their pursuit of meaningful work. Enjoy musical performances by local artists.


IWD Film Screening of The Breadwinner

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – Attend an all-ages screening of the movie “The Breadwinner”, about an 11-year old girl, named Parvana, living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Following the unjust arrest of her father, she cuts off her hair and dresses in boy’s clothing to help support her family. Parvana discovers a whole new world of freedom and danger.


IWD Film Screening of Driving with Selvi

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – Watch this epic film, a 2016 Yorkton Film Festival winner, about a former child bride named Selvi. Escaping a violent marriage, she becomes South India’s first female taxi driver. In this years-long journey, Selvi defies expectations and creates a new life of hope.


IWD West-Central Women’s Resource Centre Celebration

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – Join the Women’s Resource Centre for cake and share messages with woman around the globe on their message board, and share your stories of inspirational women, to be displayed at the centre.


IWD Empowerment is an Inside Job

Sunday, March 4, 2018 – International Women’s Day is about unity, reflection, advocacy and action. This group continues to grow from strength to strength. Join the celebration including exhibitors, speakers and door prizes.

Montreal – Toronto – Kingston

IWD Pins for Progress – It Takes Balls to Be a Woman

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – Bowling, anyone? Join an event organized by Bangladeshi-Canadian women, who envision a world in which all girls and women, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, income level, or social status, are nurtured and empowered to reach their fullest potential.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Estonia Celebrates 100th Birthday on February 24, 2018

Canadians Join Estonians around the Globe in Celebration!

It was 100 years ago, on February 24, 1918, that Estonia was proclaimed as a democratic and independent republic. The centenary is real cause for celebration, and a perfect opportunity for Estonians to unite in their efforts to build a brighter future, together.

The first celebration of Estonian Independence Day in Tallinn, Estonia on February 24, 1919. Source: Wikipedia

The Flag Shop congratulates Estonians across Canada and around the globe on reaching this important milestone. On Saturday, February 24 at sunrise, the Estonian flag will be raised in locations across Estonia, to commemorate and celebrate 100 years of independence.

Estonia 100 centenary week brings Estonia’s 100th anniversary celebrations across the country and beyond! Source: Estonia 100

The Estonia Flag
The Estonian flag was officially adopted on May 8, 1990. The blue symbolizes loyalty, and beautiful blue skies, seas and lakes. The black represents oppression of the past and fertile soil. The white reflects virtue, as well as Estonia’s struggle for independence and freedom. How important is the symbolism of the flag to Estonians? It’s important enough to have an actual word for their flag: “sinimustvalge”, which literally means, “blue-black-white.”

Image Source: Estonia 100

Estonian Valtrik Pihl, a Helsinki-based construction worker from Paide, knitted a huge, 160-square metre (1,722-square ft) flag as a gift for Estonia’s centenary, celebrated this year. Source: Estonian World

The large knitted Estonian flag is currently displayed at the Estonian National Museum. Source: Estonian National Museum

Did You Know That in Estonia…?
1. …swinging is BIG!
Estonians take swinging very seriously! In a sport called “kiiking”, invented in the 1990s by a man named Ado Kosk, swingers attach themselves to giant steel swings and rotate 360°, while swinging! This gives new meaning to the phrase, “in full swing!”

2. …people vote online.
Estonia was the first country in the entire world to adopt online voting. They’ve been clicking and tapping to vote since 2007.

3. …craft beer is everywhere.
There’s been a beer revolution in the last few years, taking a popular home-brewing hobby to a way to earn a living! As it turns out, the cost of alcohol in Estonia is lower than its Scandinavian neighbors, so people are known to travel to Estonia just for a beer!

4. …there are only three major cities.
The cities of Tallinn, Tartu and Narva are the only ones with populations of more than 50,000.

5. …space food was first developed.
Space food had its beginnings in a factory located in the town of Põltsamaa, in Estonia, in 1962. This food was produced and packaged specifically for use in space travel.

6. …Skype was born.
Estonians take credit for the invention of Skype. It’s a pretty big deal, and some have been known to joke that the blue in their national flag actually symbolizes the blue in the Skype logo.

7. …the population is mostly female.
Estonia’s population has more women than men. For every 100 females in Estonia, there are 84 males, – which is very unusual – and second only to the Northern Mariana Islands (a commonwealth of the USA).

8. …they have a huge national song festival called “Laulupidu.”
This festival is among the largest choral events in the world. Can you just imagine a joint choir of over 30,000 singers performing for an audience of 80,000?

9. …there is a very high rate of literacy.
Estonia has one of the highest adult literacy rates in the world. Reading in Estonia’s official language, (called Eesti Keele in Estonian), sounds pretty tough to us!

Don’t Forget Your “Sinimustvalge!”
With so much to celebrate, The Flag Shop is here to help you express your Estonian pride! All Flag Shops across Canada carry Estonian flags in a variety of sizes, as well as lapel pins, crests, and decals. If you’re looking for a particular item, let us know, because we think you’d be surprised to learn what we have in our warehouse!

For information about 100th Anniversary celebrations in your area, or to attend, check out the links below:

Estonian Independence Gala
EV100 Juubelipidu Torontos

EV 100 Anniversary Ball

Estonia’s Independence 100th Anniversary

Estonia’s 100th birthday celebrations

Estonia 100th Independence Day Ball

Congratulations to all Estonians across Canada, and around the globe!