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A collection of Canadian Flag Proposal resources by Esteban Rivera

Last modified: 2018-09-03 by rob raeside
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Canadian Flag Proposals

Below is a collection of resources prepared by FOTW member Esteban Rivera concerning the search for a Canadian flag in the 1960s.
Esteban Rivera, 23 August 2018

  1.  "Awesome Canadian flags that got cut" ( It contains a brief explanation of the selection process, plus 142 images ( of some of the proposals submitted (All images courtesy of the Library and Archives of Canada and The Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists (official website:
  2. "Images of a Country, Canada's Flag Debate, English only" ( A complete research which has the following articles (courtesy of The Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists) in which almost all entries include multiple illustrations:
    2.1 "This flag question" (
    2.2 "History moved faster than the Canadian Government" (
    2.3 "Pearson's Pennant" (
    2.4 "(Hoping this will end the strife:) Designs" ( (includes a
    total of 28 individual pages with multiple illustrations each)
    2.4.1 (
    2.4.2 (
    2.4.3 (
    2.4.4 (
    2.4.5 (
    2.4.6 (
    2.4.7 (
    2.4.8 (
    2.4.9 (
    2.4.10 (
    2.4.11 (
    2.4.12 (
    2.4.13 (
    2.4.14 (
    2.4.15 (
    2.4.16 (
    2.4.17 (
    2.4.18 (
    2.4.19 (
    2.4.20 (
    2.4.21 (
    2.4.22 (
    2.4.23 (
    2.4.24 (
    2.4.25 (
    2.4.26 (
    2.4.27 (
    2.4.28 (
    2.5 "Allegiances (Not only dear but sacred)" (
    2.6 "A Pox on both your Houses" (
    2.7 "Committee" (
    2.8 "Our country's flag" (
    2.9 "Acknowledgements" (
    Curator: Cheryl Avery
    Digitization and Coding: Joanne Abrahamson
    Documentation and Illustrations: All material not cited -- Diefenbaker Centre Archives
    Special Collections, University of Saskatchewan Libraries
    Saskatchewan Archives Board, Saskatoon
    National Archives of Canada Caricature Collections, Documentary Art and Photography Division
    British Museum Prints and Drawings Division
    McGraw-Hill Ryerson Publishers, Toronto

    Special Thanks to: Greg Burke, Technician, Steven Billinton, Patrick Hayes

    Graphics: University of Saskatchewan Division of Media and Technology

    2.10 "Links" (,
    which contains the following:
    2.10.1"The National Flag of Canada - A to Z on the Canadian Flag" (
    2.10.2 "Showing the Flag: A Canadian Photo Album - Collection of
    Full-Colour Photos" (
    2.10.3 "National Archives of Canada – Two Illustrated Articles on the
    Canadian Flag" ( " - Canada Day 2003 - from CBC Archives" (http://  ) "The Great Flag Debate" ( "A Flag For Canada" (
    2.10.5 "Flags of Canada and Provinces" (
    2.10.6 "Pearson-Speeches-Inauguration of the Flag, February 15, 1965"
    2.10.7 "Canadian Flag Activity Sheet - for High School Students" (
    2.11 "(Flag Debate:) Educational Resources" (

    From the above mentioned complete research, is the final stage of the selection process as follows:
    "On 8 September 1964, telling Pearson and Diefenbaker they and their parties had acted "like two old bulls in a pasture butting their heads together," Tommy Douglas, leader of the New Democratic Party, hoping a solution could be found "before we do irreparable damage to parliament and to confederation," called for an all-party committee to review and report on the flag issue. This proposal was accepted and by 10 September, 15-member committee was formed.

    The committee eventually divided the designs into three main types:
    one-leaf designs, three-leaf designs and those containing the fleur-de-lis and Union Jack in some combination. The field was narrowed to one flag of each type.

    On 29 October, after 45 meetings, several votes were taken: adoption of the Red Ensign as the national flag was defeated 10 to 4; having a national plebiscite on the flag issue was rejected; the committee was unanimous in its determination to bring before Parliament its recommendation on a single flag.

    In another vote, both designs containing maple leaves were retained: the Union Jack/fleur-de-lis design was rejected.

    That left the choice between "Pearson's pennant" and the maple leaf flag. Assuming the Liberals on the committee would support Pearson's choice, the Conservative members voted in favour of the single maple leaf. The initial outcome was 14 to 0 for the maple leaf flag, with one abstention. A second, confirming vote was taken and the maple leaf flag passed, 10 to 4.

    The debate had not ended entirely: on 9 December 1964, Leon Balcer broke Conservative party ranks to ask for closure. On 11 December, Conservatives brought in one more motion asking for the adoption of the Red Ensign; it was defeated 162 to 80. The final debate came on 14 December and at two o'clock on the morning of 15 December 1965, the bill adopting the new Canadian flag was passed. Parliament adjourned with MPs singing "O Canada.""
    Sources: and
  3. "The Great Canadian Flag Debate" (
  4. "The Archivist" ( a synopsis of the whole process, which contains enhanced images. (This text was written by James M. Whalen and first published in The Archivist, Magazine of the National Archives of Canada, in 1990.)
  5.  "A national flag imagined differently" ( an article which contains pictures of the three remaining proposals, as seen here:, and
    5.1 "History of the National flag of Canada" (
    5.2 "Flickr set" featuring images of flag designs, submitted to replace the British Ensign that Canada used until February 15, 1965."
    5.3 "Conserving the Proclamation of the Canadian Flag" ( which contains the proclamation document ( of the new flag of Canada. (This text was written by John Grace and first published in The Archivist , Magazine of the National Archives of Canada, in 1990.)
  6.  Library and Archives Canada releases eighteenth podcast episode, “Canada’s Flag: The Maple Leaf Forever” ( and "Canada’s Flag: The Maple Leaf Forever” (  ) an 18-episode podcast
  7. "W5 Visits LAC for Feature Story on the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Flag" (
    "On the Road to 2017 with Library and Archives Canada - National Flag of Canada Day: 50th Anniversary" ( ) (includes video:  ).
  8. "The Flags of Canada", by © Alistair B. Fraser, 1998 (online adaptation of book) which contains a detailed "Chronology of Canadian Flags" ( (1010-1985).
  9. "Origin of Canada's flag" (
  10.  "Canada 150" ( (commemorative website)
  11.  "Celebrating 50 years of Canada’s national flag!" ( which contains the proclamation document ( of the new flag of Canada, in color.
  12.  "Heritage Minutes: Flags" (
    "MP John Matheson, a member of the parliamentary committee to choose a national flag, surveys the many designs proposed for consideration (1965)." (includes video: A very interesting reply to this article is seen by Robert J. Harper, on August 21, 2016: "Although most of the information here is correct, there are several inaccurate pieces. John Ross Matheson did not chair the Flag committee, he was a member of the committee and was the person most responsible for bringing our Canadian Maple Leaf Flag to fruition. The second piece is Dr. George Stanley made a suggestion to John Ross Matheson which is a recycled concept from a memo written on February 8th 1919 by Major-General (later Sir) Eugene Fiset who suggested the emblem of Canada be ” a single red maple leaf on a white field with red bordures (armorial bearing) The actual design team was made up of George Bist (proportions) Jacques St. Cyr (creator of the stylized maple leaf as we see it today)) Dr. Gunter Wyszecki (NRC team who developed the Scientific Standard colour of red. John Ross Matheson, Patrick Reid and Jacques St. Cyr overseen the final creation and design on November 9th 1964."

    The discussion on the flag change was dubbed "Great Canadian Flag Debate" (or Great Flag Debate)
Esteban Rivera, 23 August 2018