Canada’s flag at fifty

Maple Leaf officially adopted as Canada's national flag on Feb. 15, 1965.

A symbol of our nation turns 50 years old on Feb. 15  and at least one local man is hoping people will get out and wave the flag on that day.

That’s because it’s the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag, the Maple Leaf.

Kenny Podmore, Sidney’s official town crier, a former town councillor and man-about-town wants to celebrate — even if it’s in a small, understated, traditional Canadian way.

“It’s about awareness, really,” Podmore says. “I’m so proud to be in this country. Canada has been so good to me.”

Podmore is originally from the U.K. and says he has not only been welcomed into Canada, but embraced.

“This is a way of paying back, a thank-you,” he says.

Podmore has been reaching out to the Town, business community and others to raise a little flag-based community spirit for Flag Day on Feb. 15.

On that day, the nation marks 50 years since adopting the red-white-red colours of the Maple Leaf flag. It was inaugurated as the national flag of Canada on Feb. 15, 1965. Before that, Canada used the Red Ensign between 1868 and 1965, but it and its various configurations were never officially adopted. Canada also used the Royal Union Flag as its official flag until ‘65.

While not a statutory holiday, Flag Day is more about paying respects to all that it stands for.

Don’t have a Canadian flag to wave?

The Sidney constituency office of MP Elizabeth May might be able to help out with that. Constituency Assistant Jonathan Dickie says the office gives out flags — one per constituent, per year. And these aren’t the small paper flags on a stick, either. Dickie says they are the real deal — flags one can run up a flagpole. They are available first come, first served.

As well, the office gives out thousands of Canada pins every year, especially to people traveling abroad.

“There’s really a big demand for those,” Dickie says.

While there’s no official Flag Day event planned on the Saanich Peninsula, Podmore and others hope folks will get out the red and white banner and show their spirit.