Whatever happened to …

… Canadian flag etiquette?

I got thinking about flags recently when this made the news.

Pride flags stolen at local schools: Board

It brought back a lot of memories and I’ll credit Lord Baden-Powell for my understanding … as a Wolf Cub and later a Boy Scout.

Photo by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash

There are rules, yes rules, about how the Canadian flag should be flown. I can’t remember whether I learned all this to get a badge or if it was just part of the deal of being a member of the group.

Some of the things that I remember from those times …

  • the Canadian Flag is always flown by itself on a pole
  • when flown in the same place as other countries, it is always flown in a “position of honour” which means that it should fly higher than other flags or if they are at the same level, the Canadian Flag is always flown on the far left pole as you face it
  • the Canadian Flag is never flown at night
  • the Canadian Flag is never dipped as someone passes
  • the Canadian Flag should be folded and then broken as it gets raised
  • you should always fly a Canadian Flag on a pole that has a finial
  • the Canadian Flag is flown at half-mast to show a sign of lost but should always be raised and then lowered to the position
  • when a Canadian Flag develops holes or rips, it should be replaced. The original flag should be burned or torn into strips
  • as a scout, we should salute the flag when it passes and there are two different types of salute depending on whether or not you’re wearing a hat

There are probably other things that I’ve long forgotten! There is an entire page about the Canadian Flag and the etiquette that should be followed here.

For a Sunday, are you up to date with your flag rules and etiquette?

  • were you a Boy Scout or Girl Guide?
  • one of my memories above is either incorrect or the rules have changed. Which one?
  • there is an occasion when the Canadian Flag should be flown upside down. Do you know?
  • what does a Scout salute look like?
  • Lord Baden-Powell was known for fighting in a war. Which one?
  • the Canadian Flag is easy to know which way is up. The United Kingdom Flag is not so easy. How do you know if you know if it’s flying correctly?
  • if you are flying a Canadian Flag on your car, where should the Flag be positioned?
  • what is the rope on a flag pole called?
  • if you’re flying the Flag horizontally, which way does the Maple Leaf point?
  • there actually is one flag that should be flown higher than the Canadian Flag. Which one, and under what conditions?
  • when did Canada get the flag we see now? What did we have before?
  • think back this past week, did you see the Flag being flown incorrectly?

I’d be interested in your understanding of Canadian Flag etiquette. Please share them in the comments below. If you’re not from Canada, it would be interesting to see your thoughts about your own flag.

This is a regular Sunday morning feature here. Please feel free to let me know ideas for a topic you’d like to see discussed.

All of the previous articles can be found here.

4 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. US flag etiquette is pretty much the same as Canadian. National flags should always be at the same height in peace time. Apparently, church banners/flags may be higher than the US flag during worship services performed by a Navy chaplain. I never knew that before I looked the rules up today.

    From what I understand the Disney parks fly flags that are not exactly correct US flags. That means they don’t technically have to follow the flag rules exactly.

    A national flag flown upside down is a signal of distress. Every so often one reads a story of someone stuck on a roof and turning the flag upside down to signal they need help.

    In the US, we are seeing a lot of flags with blue stripes (for police) or other colors to represent support for some group or other. People get annoyed with me when I point out that makes them not a real American flag but that’s the rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the fun read on our flag. It prompts the memory of my first purposeful encounter with the Canadian flag when we, as Newcomers, became Canadian citizens. We were invited to stand tall, place our arms at our side, face the Canadian flag at the front of the room, all the while looking at the flag while we sang our national anthem.

    Liked by 1 person

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