8-14 Macdonell Street,
Guelph, Ontario N1H 6P7
In his own words, Joe Tersigni is not only a self-appointed flag vigilante, but more than a little obsessive about the Canadian flag (“Guelph’s Joe Tersigni offers a history lesson on the Maple Leaf flag,” Guelph Mercury, Friday, February 6, 2015). Not to be unfair to the mentally ill, his obsession and vigilantism seem a little suspicious and also a little risky. I’m glad my children were never in any class of his. I’m also glad he never trespassed on my family’s property.
But all that aside, his regard for our flag seems admirable. I also like the Maple Leaf flag. It is a beautiful banner, distinctive and relatively easy to make compared to, say, the American flag with its many stars. The author wrote about the 1960s political debate behind the flag’s birth. I have old 8mm family movies (since transferred onto VHS video and then transferred onto DVD) that clearly show how everyday people then were steeped in the spirit of the new flag by designing their own banners in different colors and designs.
But what Mr. Tersigni doesn’t write about is the meaning of the design. Maybe I am wrong, but I was taught that the two red bars represent the two major oceans on our east and west coasts; the 11-point maple leaf is styled to represent our ten provinces plus territories; and, the white and red color scheme represents snow plus the Canadian blood spilled in the battlefields of Flanders. Canada suffered one of the highest per capita casualty rates during WWI as a result of the appalling conditions, the intensity of the fighting, plus the British habit of using ‘colonials’ to fill the gaps. We came of age at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.
Published by the Guelph Mercury on Saturday, February 14, 2015 as “Understand the meaning of national flag’s design."
In my family I am the black sheep, the square peg, weird uncle, the one you don’t want to meet for the first time in uncomfortable or unpleasant circumstances. Trespassers beware. Oh, I’m intelligent, friendly and gregarious, but with one foot over the edge.