Our Maple Leaf flag in Toronto’s Eaton’s Centre on the week of Canada Day
Until 1982, the celebration of Canada’s birth was referred to as Dominion Day and was held each year on 1 July. The nation was created in 1867 by an act of the British Parliament. Sir Leonard Tilly, a Father of Confederation, chose the name “Dominion of Canada” for the new country, the words of Psalm 72 having inspired him: “He shall have dominion from sea to sea.” Four British colonies united to create a fledgling nation. It was a small entrance onto the world stage, but the Confederation had dreams of stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This vision was eventually fulfilled. However, the word “Dominion” was replaced in the name of the holiday in 1982, as there was no comparable word in French. It is now named Canada Day.
When the nation was created, except for our Native Peoples, all Canadians possessed immigrant roots. Throughout the many decades since the country was created, most new arrivals to the country have felt that having an attachment to two countries does not diminish one’s passion for either. Intense loyalty to a flag does not necessarily represent the ultimate depths of patriotism—it is simply a symbol. Flags are hangovers from the days of nationalistic rivalries—under these divisive banners, wars ravaged the European continent for centuries.
In Canada, a rather unique attitude developed. Despite our strong sentiments toward our flag, many do not view the flag as the most important symbol of nationalism. Secure in our identity, we had no need to wave flags at every available opportunity, as we know that the truest feelings of loyalty to a nation are held within our hearts. Even after the new Canadian flag was introduced in 1965, citizens raised it with quiet pride. Canada has developed a sense of nationhood that is not dependent upon mere symbolism. This is now lessening, as Canadians lean more toward the American idea of demonstrating patriotism by displaying flags. Whether or not this is a positive development is a matter of opinion.
It could be said modern Europe has adopted the Canadian model by creating a confederation with a common market and discarding some of the symbols that in the past spawned disastrous rivalries. The euro is the currency of many countries, even though it is now threatened. Perhaps Canada was ahead of its time—a nation in which people of different nationalities united as they shared common goals and values. These ideas were more important than flags, anthems, and symbols.
Despite these feeling, I will proudly display the Maple Leaf flag from the balcony of my downtown apartment as I have done for the past eleven years.
Happy Canada Day
I have spent much of my adult life researching the history of Canada and my native city of Toronto. I love the city and enjoy exploring it through my writing. One of the books, “The Villages Within”, was nominated for the Toronto Heritage Awards. If interested in novels with a Toronto setting, descriptions of the books are available by following the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/toronto-author-publishes-seventh-novel/
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The Villages Within: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000175211/The-Villages-Within.aspx
Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/
Authors can be contacted at: email@example.com
The Canadian flag at Toronto’s Old City Hall, with the east facade of the Old City Hall reflected in the mirrored wall of the Eaton’s Centre.