Waving the flag on a special month

This week started on a very patriotic note with National Flag of Canada Day on Feb. 15.

It was really interesting to see so many different Canadian flag-themed images pop up on social media and it made me want to learn more about the flag that is such a huge part of our national identity.

Our national flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill on Feb. 15, 1965. Canada was just two years away from centennial celebrations when the maple leaf flag was made official by Royal Proclamation. In 1996, Feb. 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day, and this has been observed every year since.

“The flag is the symbol of the nation’s unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief or opinion,” the Speaker of the Senate declared at the Inauguration of the new flag in 1965.

And since then, the flag has flown proudly at City Halls, inside hockey arenas and so many other places. It has been worn on the shoulders of our soldiers. It has been worn by athletes and by travellers and just about anyone who wants to express their pride in our nation.

Being a lover of history and interesting-but-not-necessarily-always-helpful facts, I decided to look up National Flag of Canada Day. I was not disappointed. Here are some of the things I learned through the Government of Canada website:

• The Canadian flag is twice as long as it is wide (and these dimensions cannot be modified). The white square and its maple leaf make up half the surface of the flag, equal to the two red bars combined.

• Red and white were proclaimed Canada’s official colours in the proclamation of the Royal Arms of Canada in 1921 by King George V.

• There is such a thing as a flag expert, and he or she is called a vexillologist. Furthermore, vexillologists often cite the National Flag of Canada as one of the world’s most beautiful, based on its “compelling design and measured use of colour.”

• In 1964, the federal government made the creation of a distinctive Canadian flag a priority, as the 1967 centennial celebration of Confederation was approaching. When Parliament could not reach agreement on the design, the task of finding a national flag was given to an all-party Parliamentary committee. The committee recommended the single leaf, red and white design to Parliament, and a motion was passed to adopt this design  as the National Flag of Canada with a vote of 163 to 78 on Dec. 15, 1964.

Wounded Warrior Run

Speaking of Canadian pride and patriotism, I personally am really excited for the annual Wounded Warrior Run BC to come through Campbell River later this month.

Six runners are taking part in a relay-style run from Port Hardy to Victoria Feb. 22 to 28. This year’s run includes currently serving Canadian Armed Forces members, reservists, veterans, non-military members and First Nations.

The run will cover more than 600 kilometres and raise awareness and support for Wounded Warriors Canada, a non-profit organization that helps serving and retired Canadian Forces members who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada. The organization’s primary focus is currently on mental health and the impact of PTSD and Operational Stress Injuries. They’re doing important work that impacts a lot of people.

Wounded Warrior Run BC will arrive in Campbell River Feb. 24 and the night before, Oyster River Fire & Rescue will host a burger and beer fundraiser for the runners. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, there will be two sittings – 6-7 p.m. and 7-8 p.m. – at Salmon Point Restaurant, and tickets are $20 at the door. To reserve a sitting, call 250-923-7272. Visit woundedwarriorrunbc.com.