Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Woman Who Sewed First Maple Leaf Flag Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Event

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Woman Who Sewed First Maple Leaf Flag Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Event

Article excerpt

Ottawa marks 50th birthday of the Maple Leaf

--

OTTAWA - When most Canadians contemplate their national flag, their thoughts might naturally turn to Canada Day, July 1.

Historians and others may think about Feb. 15, the day in 1965 when the modern Canadian flag -- bearing its familiar hallmark symbol, the Maple Leaf -- was first raised on Parliament Hill.

For Joan O'Malley, Nov. 6, 1964, will forever be the birthday of Canada's iconic red-and-white banner, the day her father asked her to do an impromptu sewing job that she will never forget.

"For me, it's my 50th anniversary," O'Malley told a small gathering of friends, family and political dignitaries Friday on Parliament Hill, where she was presented with the flag that flew from the Peace Tower on Nov. 6 this year.

With her original Singer sewing machine on display, O'Malley described the night her father approached her to ask whether she could sew the three prototypes that had been chosen as the finalists to become Canada's new emblem.

A November snowstorm had fallen over the nation's capital and O'Malley was just home from work with her husband Brian and expecting to spend the evening indoors.

But O'Malley's father Ken Donovan, an assistant purchasing director with the Canadian Government Exhibition Commission, called his then-20-year-old daughter with an urgent request.

That afternoon, Lester B. Pearson had asked that the three flag prototypes that were under consideration be delivered to 24 Sussex Drive so he could see them hoisted on polls at the prime minister's Harrington Lake retreat the next day.

Pearson had come to office with a minority government under a promise made in 1963 that under his leadership, Canada would have a new flag. The final three designs had been picked from a list of entries that totalled more than 3,500.

Pearson's preference was a flag with three red maple leaves on a white background and blue on either side, a design that became known as the Pearson Pennant. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.