Flag campaign celebrates the founding of Canada
Every home in Florence will be sporting a crisp, new Canadian flag in time for Canada’s official anniversary, July 1.
A project of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 83 in Florence, the idea is the brainchild of Gary Collins, a retired major with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry with 42 years service.
“Our theme focuses on communities’ struggles throughout those 150 years, the people that built these communities and remained after disasters and wars,” said Collins. “By displaying the flag, they are celebrating generations of their families that helped build Canada. It’s not so much the birthday, but the founding of our country recognizing the struggles of everyday life. These people built the roads, fed the people and sacrificed so much — that’s how a country stays together.”
Branch 83 asks that when people put the flag in a window or hang it outside their home, that the flag face the road.
“When you drive down any street in Florence, we want the flags to be visible.”
According to records at the local post office, there are 585 residents in Florence. Branch 83 ordered 600 flags from a Canadian company, and is not charging for them.
However, they would gladly accept donations to help with the ongoing work of the legion, said legion member Cecil Snow.
The campaign will begin in early June and is expected to take about three weeks to complete. Branch 83 legion members and local cadets in uniform will deliver flags.
“If someone needs help to put up the flag, we will take care of that as well,” said Branch 83 legion member Daniel Ginter. “We want to give people plenty of notice and once the flags are delivered, we plan to drive around the community so no one gets missed.”
As part of the campaign, Branch 83 is sponsoring a contest at both Dr. T.L. Middle School and Florence Elementary. Students are encouraged to submit a poster, poem or essay on what Canada’s 150th birthday means to them and submit it by the contest deadline May 31. Three winners from each school will receive a Canadian flag and a “Heart of a Nation” commemorative coin.
“I went to Expo ’67 as a member of the 562 Air Cadet drill team. For Canada’s 125th I was a warrant officer in Winnipeg and did the parade floats. Now that I’m retired, I’m helping with the 150th as a member of Branch 83 Legion,” Collins said. “I’d look around during the various anniversaries and wonder why more people did have a flag in their window. Florence is a small community, so this project was doable. I’ve been in a uniform since I was a cub scout at five years old, so serving my community and country is important to me. Providing flags helps families to feel they are a part of this celebration of the founding of our country.”
Cecil Snow, Gary Collins and Daniel Ginter of Branch 83 Royal Canadian Legion in Florence, display some of the flags that will be provided to every home in Florence to celebrate Canada’s 150th.