How likely is to have a new Canadian flag, particularly in blue color?! How about having that on Peace Tower on a Canada Day, or for Canada's 150th Anniversary by 2017?! If you say that could not happen under any circumstances, think twice!
For Canadians and particularly those living in its Nation’s Capital, Ottawa, when passing by in downtown area, it’s one thing the good feeling of seeing the Red Maple National Flag of the country flown every day on Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower, but it’s another thing the special and proud feeling to see it up there on any Canada Day celebrations around Parliament Hill grounds and among hundreds of thousands of other celebrating Canadians who gather there all day and remain to watch the closing fireworks late at night.
Yet this year on July 01, 2011, the 144th anniversary day of Canada as a country, for many native or new Canadians who gathered on Parliament Hill and posed for photos, if the feeling was still the same, at least the background on their photos taken was different. This was not just because of increased crowd coming to watch or take photos of the new Royal couple, Prince Williams and wife Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, stepping on red carpets in Parliament Hill ground. Neither it was due to additional barriers installed by Police nor their severe restrictions for enhanced security which at times made them pushing people back harshly when words and whistles wouldn’t do any good. What actually made the big difference was the unfamiliar blue flag on Peace Tower replacing the much missing famous red-and-white flag of Canada.
While there is no official law in place, but according to Canadian Heritage rules, "Her Majesty's Personal Canadian Flag, the standards of members of the Royal Family as well as the standard of the Governor General and the standard of the Lieutenant Governor (in his/her province of jurisdiction and when assuming the duties of the representative of The Queen) take precedence over the National Flag of Canada on the buildings where these dignitaries are in residence or where they are attending a function."
In light of the Royal Tour 2011 of Canada, Prince William’s personal flag has been recently created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority and approved by Queen Elizabeth. This is the first personal flag in 50 years to be created for a member of the Royal Family. As such, people who are more familiar with political system of Canada could have expected to see that new flag on Ottawa’s Peace Tower on Canada Day while the royal couple being present in the ceremonies and celebrations.
The design of Prince William's flag is very much similar to the Royal Standard of Charles, Prince of Wales, and is based on the Queen's own personal flag for use in Canada, a.k.a. Royal Standard of Canada. As such, having a banner of the Royal Arms of Canada as the basis for the design, the flag overall contains a good and almost equal mix amount of white and red beside the blue and yellow. On the other hand though, the flag representing the governor general is almost all blue in the background with a minimal red.
“I thought they did it to satisfy Quebec again ”, a young woman posing for a photo with Peace Tower on her behind, said sarcastically when asked about her thought the first time she saw the blue flag earlier in the morning.
Canada became a country on July 1, 1867 a.k.a. Confederation Date when the British North America Act passed by the British Parliament. However for many decades, choosing the design and color of the National Flag of Canada was always a hot disputed topic between the French and English politicians in power and in opposition. The present red flag was proclaimed the new and official national flag of Canada by Queen Elizabeth II only on January 28, 1965 during an official ceremony in Ottawa at Parliament Hill. In province of Quebec, however the provincial flag (a white cross on a field of blue with four fleurs-de-lis) is often considered a national flag.
“It’s not fun really” her friend taking the picture commented. “It’s Canada, and it’s Canada Day! I would rather see our own flag all the time and nothing else even if the Queen herself was here now.”
On her June 29 article however, Laura Payton of CBC News, had accurately reported to Canadians that they “may not see that much of it [William’s personal flag], because as the Queen's representative in Canada, the Governor General's flag takes precedence over William's.”
Since David Johnston would accompany the royal couple on much of their visit during the royal tour of 2011 in Canada and of course on Canada Day particularly, people who didn’t stay longer in the afternoon toward the closing fireworks, experienced a Canada Day without its most recognized national symbol.
“Thank God they put it back now, but they better put more light on it to make it shine all over” a man said in the crowd watching the stunning fireworks started at 10:00 PM which traditionally is to officially close the party time on Parliament Hill. “It’s much like celebrating your wife’s birthday, while having invited all the friends and families, but to surprise her by putting your ex-girlfriend’s photo beside the cake and have your wife smile to it and blow the candles” he added, laughing out loud.