"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," declared the Speaker of the Senate at the Inauguration of the new flag in 1965.
On February 15, 1965 our national flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill. Canada was only two years away from its centennial celebrations when Royal Proclamation made the maple leaf flag official. In 1996, February 15th was declared National Flag of Canada Day and has been observed every year since.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian flag, Grade 3 and 4 students at General Gordon Elementary hosted a very special guest. Judge Robert Watt, former Chief Herald of Canada and current Citizenship Judge spent the morning discussing the history of our flag and what it means to be a Canadian.
For the past few weeks, students in Graeme Cotton's class had been working on Canadian history, including the process and journey our leaders took in designing our current Canadian flag. From Sirs John A. MacDonald and Wilfrid Laurier, to versions of our flag that included photos of the Beatles, the students had many questions form Watt.
A passionate Canadian, Watt is a treasure trove of Canadian facts and history. He is also passionate about citizenship, and what it means to be Canadian. When he asked the class "How many of you were born in another country?" of the two-dozen students, five put up their hands. Students in the small class were born in countries all over the world-Brazil, Denmark, England, Japan and China. "How about your parents?" he asked. More hands went up. "Grandparents?" he asked -all but one set of hands went up. "Canada is wonderful country, and a very young country."
Watt is one of just over 30 Citizenship Judges who oversee the formal interview and citizenship ceremonies of over 30,000 new Canadians into Vancouver each year.
CLICK HERE to read a recent Flag Day article in Meto Vancouver about Judge Watt.