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.

Terry Fox Run, 35 Years and Going Strong


A Terry Fox Run Banner displayed at our store.

“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.” – Terry Fox

The Terry Fox Run celebrates its 35th Anniversary this Sunday which is a real cause for celebration. In 1980, young Terry Fox set out to race across Canada. Often,  he would cover about 26 miles in one day, and day after day he continued.

It was an inspiring endeavour and one that captured the heart of many Canadians. The Flag Shop was fortunate enough to be involved in that first year when our founder, Doreen Braverman, approached Terry Fox’s mother, Betty with an idea to produce flags for the event. We then designed a 3’x6’ flag that sold for $100 dollars apiece with all proceeds donated to the cause her son was championing.

We continued to produce these flags for the Terry Fox Foundation for several more years. Now we have only one left which will hang proudly this weekend behind the speaker’s podium at Stanley Park where Terry Fox’s sister, Judith Fox, will be speaking.


A photo of Laura Hansen with one of the original flags in 1980.

Thank you to the Terry Fox Foundation, for allowing us to participate in this way and for those of you who feel moved to donate to the cause, we encourage you to visit their website and make a contribution.

Jack and Doreen’s 50th Anniversary

Our founders, Jack and Doreen Braverman, recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary at the Jericho Tennis Club where they had met in 1964. The party was full of friends and family and even included some specially made toothpick flags with a picture of the couple from their wedding day.

A small excerpt from the invitation:

“We met at the Jericho Tennis club in 1964. Jack had a broken ankle from skiing. He asked me to dance! Well, it was the day of the twist. Somehow we managed. […] When we got married he said it was just for 50 years and then he was cutting out. Please join us at the Jericho Tennis Club… Maybe you can help him change his mind.”

I think it’s safe to say that the crowd succeeded in their mission.

Best wishes Jack and Doreen!


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The Pride Flag, A Part of The Flag Shop’s History

This year, on Sunday, August 2, 2015, The Flag Shop will have a booth set-up at the Vancouver Pride Parade Festival. Look for us there under the big blue tent where we will have all of our rainbow Pride products for sale. We will be donating proceeds from our Pride flag sales to the Vancouver Pride Society as well as collecting donations in exchange for our new (and exclusive!) Smiley Face Pride tattoos. However, first read here to learn a little more about why the Pride flag is so important to us, and what we’ve done through the years to demonstrate our passion for LGBTQ+ rights and freedoms.

Here in Vancouver Pride Week is upon us. Every year the Vancouver Pride Society puts together a parade and festival even bigger and louder than the year before. Of course, a big part of any Pride celebration since 1978 has been Gilbert Baker’s Rainbow Pride Flag. Flag fanatics that we are, The Flag Shop couldn’t stay away. As our president, Susan Braverman, recently said:

“Our involvement with the gay pride movement began in 1978 when we produced Rainbow flags and decals in support of the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. Immediately afterward, we began manufacturing flags for the Canadian gay community in recognition of its history, courage and diversity. While demand in the early years was muted, as the Rainbow Flag transformed into the main symbol of unity for the gay rights movement, requests continued to grow and with support from the PRIDE & LGBT community we were able to invest in the development of new products which celebrate the future.”*

Video from GLBT Historical Society; Go to 7:00 for a glimpse of the Pride Rainbow Flag.

Since then, The Flag Shop Pride products have been flown all over the country from military bases to provincial legislatures. In 2014, when anti-LGBT Russian policies created a wave of outrage around the Sochi Winter Olympics, many Pride flags were flown across Canada to show support for LGBT athletes and Russian citizens that were facing these inhumane policies. In Victoria, B.C. a last minute request was made to The Flag Shop Victoria for an almost four foot by seven and half foot Pride flag, essentially needed yesterday. Paul Servos, the owner of The Flag Shop Victoria, managed to sew it together and deliver it in about 3 hours, and the flag was raised in time for the Olympic opening day.

Understandably, LGBTQ+ rights and Pride demonstrations are something we are one hundred percent behind. Moving forward, we are always looking for ways that we can better show our support for this cause. This year we are partnering with the Vancouver Pride Society working with them to raise funds and create engaging signage for their event. Also, we are a new print partner of Out on Screen who puts together Vancouver’s Queer Film Festival. Look for the banners we made for them at the festival which starts August 13th!

Finally, while we love working with all of these groups, it doesn’t hurt that the Pride flag is incredibly beautiful. We can’t help but agree with designer, Gilbert Baker, in this quote from the CBC:

“The rainbow is a beautiful part of nature, all of the colours, and even the colours you can’t see. So that really fit us as a people because we are all of the colours, our sexuality is all of the colours; we’re all the genders, and ages, and races.”

Fly proud everyone!

*In 1978, the year the rainbow flag was launched, one of The Flag Shop’s conscious designers attended the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade with rainbow flags and decals for himself and his friends crafted out of our Vancouver location.

If you’re particularly excited about the Pride Flag be sure to enter our #PrideFlag contest via Instagram & Twitter!

Pride Products:

Further Reading:
Time: How the Rainbow Flag Became an Icon of LGBT Right
San Francisco Travel: A Brief History of the Rainbow Flag
Slate: How the Rainbow Became a Symbol of the GLBT Movement.
Gilbert Baker’s Website

The Royal Canadian Navy debuts a new ensign

Naval JackThe Royal Canadian Navy recently announced that they will be flying a new ensign starting May 5th. Instead of flying the Canadian flag (the Maple Leaf) off of the stern, they will now be flying the former Naval Jack in its place.

This story from CTV News explains the flag change up.

While we have been carrying the Canadian Naval Ensign as part of our military flag line for quite awhile, the Navy will soon need much larger ones to fly off of the stern. Our Nova Scotia store is currently applique sewing a very large one, and our Victoria store is looking at stocking up as well.

“Essentially, the flag previously known as the Canadian Naval Jack became the Canadian Naval Ensign, whereas the National Flag became the Canadian Naval Jack.”

Read the official government news release here.

The Terry Fox Run flag – then and now

Since the 32nd annual Terry Fox Run is this Sunday, we thought you might to see a little bit of history. On the left is a Terry Fox Run flag from the original 1980 order, and on the right is the Terry Fox flag currently on display outside our store. We’re still selling them in our Vancouver store as well as online, and we donate $50 from every sale to the Terry Fox foundation.

 Terry Fox Flags - then and now