If the editors of Canadian Art magazine had been in charge of Canada in 1963 this would be our flag today. The magazine, in conjunction with Weekend Magazine/Perspectives, awarded designer Rolland Lavoie first prize (and $2000) in a replace-the-Red-Ensign competition, and featured his design on the cover of the September/October 1963 issue.
First impression: Ugh.
Second impression: It's similar to the flag adopted by Greenland in 1985, in a way, with a disc divided into halves. Except that the Greenlandic flag looks like something, a northern sunset, or an iceberg reflected in the sea. Then there's Japan, who could possibly claim copyright infringement. Really, it's like a design based on a second-hand report of the South Korean flag, drawn far away by someone unfamiliar with the concepts of yin and yang.
But yin and yang are at the heart of the contest. Many of the submissions attempt to reconcile the Two Solitudes in some visual manner. One even resorts to a Venn diagram. The intent of Rolland Lavoie is plainly to show the coming together of English (redcoat) and French (bluecoat) in a perfect circle of unity. A disc is an available heraldic device, though the sense you get here is that it's included because Platonic forms were in in the Sixties. How long would it have taken for us to start calling it the puck?
My problems with this flag: 1) circles are undynamic; 2) white is boring; 3) it makes deux nations our defining characteristic.
Now we're talking. But still too much white. Third and fourth prize winners:
Third prize is just plain weird but it anticipates Connect Four by a few years. The flag with the white maple leaves in the red canton on a blue field suffers from the same problem as the winner -- it looks too much like another country's flag. The entry with the line of ten stars is the most openly satirical and I'm surprised it even received acknowledgement let alone a $100 cheque. You could call it the Ten Future States flag. The entry with the blue and white halves seems to have inspired or been inspired by the Coast Guard flag.
The blue and gold design by Mrs. P. Derraugh Kloepfer of Fort Nelson is the most original entry. Her idea is to use the flag's motion to animate the northern lights, an under-utilized Canadian symbol. But it also looks like a barfed-on tablecloth. The red flag would do fine for a Japanese prefecture, or a pavilion at Expo '67.
Some honourable-mentions were published in black and white.
Some of these have a Canadian Army feel, and may have been copied directly from the sides of tanks, where they passed the basic flag test, to be so identifiable that your friends don't shoot at you. The final honourable-mention, by painter William Kurelek, is way too busy.
Could you image waving any of these flags at an international hockey game? For me, maybe Jacque Sneep's three maple leaves on a blue and red background, if they were gold instead of white. Douglas
Ilha do Corvo is the northernmost member of the Azores, the mid-Atlantic archipelago stretching west from Portugal. It is home to four or five hundred people, some stone windmills, a huge extinct volcano, and, to judge by the name, crows. Corvo and its hydrangea-speckled neighbour Flores are so far out from the European mainland that they actually rest on the North American Plate. Consequently they are edging away from the rest of the country by several millimetres each year. Already Corvo is a few miles closer to St.John's, Newfoundland, than to Lisbon.
Today, March 26, 2009, there are thirteen people in earth orbit at the one time, as many as the Mercury and Vostok programmes combined. They are: 1) on board Space Shuttle Discovery, Americans Lee Archambault, Tony Antonelli, Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, and Sandra Magnus who is returning from a stint on the International Space Station; 2) on the space station, American Mike Fincke, Russian Yury Lonchakov, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata; and 3) in Soyuz TMA-14, heading up to the station, Russian Gennady Padalka, American Michael Barratt, and two-time space tourist Charles Simonyi.
AIK have won the Swedish women's hockey playoffs, beating Segeltorps IF 5 - 0. Goals by Maria Rooth, Kathrin Lehmann, Danijela Rundqvist, and two by Katarina Timglas, whom the online translator calls Katarina Hourglass. Valentia Lizana got the shutout. Foto: Magnus Neck
While we're at it, Lugano won the Swiss playoffs, Espoo Blues the Finnish.
Clubs from Montreal won two women's hockey championships this weekend. In Kingston the Montreal Stars of the CWHL beat the Minnesota Whitecaps of the WWHL for the senior women's championship and the first awarding of the Clarkson Cup. In Antigonish the McGill Martlets defeated Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks for the women's university championship. The Habs might miss the playoffs, but Montreal is still the capital of hockey. Douglas