Sunday, May 2, 2010
Rally Round the Flag ??
For the most part, I like flags. They are a tangible representation of pride in one's country, community or organization. Many flags use a number of traditional heraldic devices and images, giving them a timeless look. Sometimes, though, a community seems to have an artistic grand mal seizure, and produce a civic emblem that is neither artistic nor inspirational (unless you count slight stomach upset as a type of inspiration). Here's a few that I have recently seen. Keep in mind my comments have nothing to do with the good folks who live in these places.
The first one is from the district of Hudson's Hope B.C. Probably a friendly little place, with salmon leaping joyfully out of the streams and onto the resident's barbeques, while kitchen taps dispense Red or White wines, rather than Hot or Cold water. What struck me about this one was the motto: "Land of Dinosaurs and Dams". WOW! Was this a statement of civic pride or a warning to unwary travellers? Is this the only alliterative motto in B.C., or are there others? (Kelowna, Land of Kitchens and Ken dolls)
The next is from Flin Flon Manitoba. This is one of a group I like to call the "corporate logo" school of flags. Looking at it, you may suspect Flin Flon is a mine and a pine tree stuck in the middle of a lake. Just having the words "Flin Flon" in such a plain type on the flag makes me think they were going to add the phrase "what of it?", but didn't want it to look too crowded. Flin Flon is actually a pretty cool place, with a wonderful statue of a fictional character after which the town was named. I wish more towns had the guts to name themselves after completely unreal characters. I, personally, would love to live in "Yoda, Manitoba", and would insist on helping design the flag for that one.
Number three is the city of Calgary, a bustling, modern, heavily urbanized centre that should have had more foresite than to have Pac-Man chewing on a cowboy hat as their flag. Oh sure, I know Calgary likes to promote it's cowboy-ish heritage, and the Calgary Stampede brings millions of dollars and hundreds of cattle to the city. But really, doesn't it look a little bit more like a placemat than a flag?
The fourth continues the "Pac-man" theme. This time Alma, Quebec combines the abstract with the sensual, as their flag looks like the passionate coupling of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. Perhaps this is where they went away for their honeymoon? Does Alma have a surplus of dots, fruits and pretzels floating down their streets that attracted these famous celebrities? Only Alma knows for sure.
Finally, we have the flag of Lethbridge Alberta. I'm not sure what to call this one, but the old "cubes and stripes" comes to mind. I've tried to see something of the city in the design of the flag (a fort? a cow? a letter "L"?), but the only thing that comes to mind is their proximity to the United States. Maybe this was one of those "better safe than sorry" civic decisions at a time when it looked like the country may be in danger of breaking up (no, no, we're ACTUALLY part of the States, see??)