Pearson Pennant Flag


This is the first flag proposal to Parliament, and was nicknamed the “Pearson Pennant” after Prime Minister Lester Pearson who advocated for the design. Alan Beddoe’s concept is close to the current flag, with two solid edges that represented the country from sea to sea, and three red maple leaves exploding from a white background.

As you can imagine, there are loads of folklore around the design of the Canadian flag, and I found the following comments by N. Artimovich interesting. “The Canadian flag was created in response to the Anglo-Egyptian difficulties over the Suez Canal in the late 1950’s. The Government of Canada were brought in as peace keepers but the Egyptian group objected, saying (in reference to the Canadian Red Ensign) “Look at the Union Jack in their flag and you’ll see that Canadians cannot be objective.” That comment really kicked the Canadian flag issue into the forefront of public consciousness, culminating in the 1965 flag debate”.

“The design of the Pearson Pennant unquestionably became the focus of the public’s anger over the flag issue. Aside from the aesthetics, many criticized Pearson’s tactics in immediately favouring one design and branded him a tyrant and his methods dictatorial; feeling one person’s choice would be forced upon them, many Canadians echoed Diefenbaker’s call for a national referendum on the flag”.

After a national design contest, and much debate, this design fell to the wayside and the current Maple Leaf with red trim was brought forward, and ultimately cast into its role as the symbol of the country.

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