Prince George Celebrates Canada’s Flag
Prince George, B.C. – The Red Maple Leaf brought citizens, dignitaries and visitors to Prince George City Hall today to mark the flag’s 50th anniversary as Canada’s official flag.
A colour party consisting of RCMP officers in red serge and members of the Rocky Mountain Rangers, Army Cadets and Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 opened the flag raising ceremony, with Lheidli T’enneh Elder Mary Gouchie providing the opening blessing. Acting as MC, Renee Trepanier, Executive Director of Le Cercle des Canadiens Francois, the Prince George French Canadian Association, had a member from each group in the colour party raise the Maple Leaf on the City Hall flag pole as the Bel Canto Choir led the signing of O Canada.
Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris called the 50th anniversary of the flag a very important day, “a milestone that allows Canadians near and far to reflect on our flag and what it represents: a strong, proud and free country that is admired and respected all across the world. Fifty years after its adoption, our flag has become the most significant symbol of our identity.” Harris adds that “with the 2015 Canada Winter Games now here in our wonderful city of Prince George we should all feel a tremendous sense of honour and joy for the many athletes who compete not only under their respective provincial or territorial flags, but under Canada’s flag as well. I want to encourage you to think of what the Maple Leaf means to you and to share your thoughts with your fellow Canadians.”
Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond noted that “it is an important year for us here in British Columbia, and in Canada as we celebrate the 50th anniversary today of the flag of our country. We’re going to celebrate the hundredth birthday of our city this year. And since we’re talking about birthdays, today is elder Mary’s birthday. She tells me she’s 39 and holding, so I say I am too.” Bond had the Bel Canto Choir lead the crowd I singing Happy Birthday to Mary Gouchie.
Bond said “I am fiercely, passionately Canadian and there is something about Canada’s flag that draws a reaction. When people see it there is an instant sense of respect and inclusiveness and for me, whether its sewn on the arm of one of our men and women who serve us in this country, whether its on your backpack when you’re travelling in Europe, or whether its when they raise it up and we sing O Canada when we win that gold medal, there is something in your heart that the flag evokes. That sense of pride and respect and the incredible spirit of being Canadian.”
Mayor Lyn Hall says “fifty years ago I can remember sitting at the kitchen table and my mom and dad talking about the transition from the old to the new flag. At that point in time to a 10-year-old it didn’t mean a lot other than ok, you’re going to change flags. But over the fifty years as I’ve grown and understood what that flag means to our country and our community, that conversation that my parents had fifty years ago really resonates today.”
“It’s a real privilege for Prince George to host one of the formal ceremonies that’s being held across the country to mark the 50th anniversary of our flag. It comes at a pivotal time in our history. On March 6th we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Prince George, so it’s a very historic time here in 2015 for our city. But as we celebrate this important date in our nation’s history I think it’s also important that we acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh and that they are a true partner of the City of Prince George.”
Mayor Hall mentioned the Winter Games and said “the winter games is about the pursuit of excellence in competition combined with a spirit of co-operation and understanding and I believe that’s really an apt metaphor for we’re doing today in celebrating the 50th anniversary of our flag.”
With that, Renee Trepanier invited all in attendance to participate in a reaffirmation of the oath of Canadian citizenship, in both English and French.
And the celebration was capped off with the dignitaries gathering to cut the Maple Leaf flag’s 50th birthday cake.