The Vancouver Island flag was brought into circulation after it was created in 1988 by Michael F. Halleran. (File Photo)

How the Vancouver Island flag flew under the radar for over a century

A B.C. history buff created the flag in the ’80s, 100 years after it was ordered

The only place the Vancouver Island flag flew before the late ’80s was under the radar.

Though it was authorized by Queen Victoria in 1865, the Island flag didn’t exist until over 100 years later, when Michael F.Halleran, at the time a student at the University of British Columbia, took it from history books to Victoria flagpoles.

“I am interested in flags and symbolism and things like that, and I very much identify with the Island,” he said. “What I foundin my research is that in 1865, the British Government had decided to regularize the identity of government vessels [so] thegovernment of each colony should have an identifying flag.”

READ ALSO: Sooke’s ‘foreign flag’ flies proudly in the town’s centre

READ ALSO: Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

And while a badge was commissioned for Vancouver Island, it had never actually been produced on a flag. Vancouver Islandwas annexed by British Columbia shortly after the symbol’s creation.

So Halleran, using elements from the Great Seal of the Island Colony, created a flag for Vancouver Island – over 100 yearssince it was ordered by the United Kingdom.

The flag features a defaced Blue Ensign – with a Union flag in the canton and a white disk with various symbols representingsome of the pillars of the Island in the Victorian era, and for the most part, today.

The beaver – sitting upon a small island amidst water – represents the colony’s early connection to the Hudson’s BayCompany. The Trident of Neptune, crossed with Caduceus – representing commerce – symbolizes oceans, fisheries andtrade. Halleran said the pine cone, floating above all the other symbols, is a representation of the forest and lumberindustry.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island Party lays out its declaration of independence from BC

Halleran took the design to a print shop in 1988.

“They made me [a flag] from the image,” he said, adding that media attention of his creation led to an explosion of interestin the more than century-old flag.

“What happened is it immediately caused a flood of inquiries about obtaining one,” he recalled. “Very soon, they were massproduced and you can buy them in any size.”

“There has been a longstanding question of identity and pride in the Island identity,” he added. “If it hadn’t taken off itwould have just been a curiosity. As it was, it became very popular.”

Halleran noted that he has no copyright claim on the design, saying if the copyright goes to anyone, “it’s the Crown.”

Halleran, now 75 and retired, went on to teach history before a career as a public servant.

Today, the Vancouver Island flag can be spotted around the Island and Victoria, including outside of Chateau Victoria.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

We Wai Kai and B.C. sign incremental Treaty Agreement, move a step closer to treaty

The We Wai Kai Nation and the Province of British Columbia have… Continue reading

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

Compromise found on grocery store size in south Campbell River subdivision

Approved increase less than developer wanted, but will still allow for some flexibility

City of Campbell River looks to improve environmental protection during development

Changes to mapping environmentally sensitive areas and how permitting process works is under review

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Most Read