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Stuff for Students

 
If you’re working on a project about Canadian history or politics, the history of the flag is a source of all sorts of terrific topics. The best place to look for ideas is in the book A Flag for Canada, which should be available in your school library. (If it’s not, ask your school librarian to order a copy!) Also check out Sources & Resources.
 
To get your thinking started, here are a few suggestions:
 
Interview your grandparents
This is a great way to get a better understanding of what kind of country Canada was in the 1960s, when your grandparents were probably around the age you are now. If your grandparents lived in Canada in the 1960s, you can be sure they’ll remember how big a deal the new flag was back then. If they arrived after the flag was chosen, ask them what they thought of it when they first saw it. Depending on where your family originally came from, your grandparents’ parents may have felt pretty strongly about the issue. If your family traces its roots back to the British Isles, they probably hated the idea of the new flag. If they came from other parts of the world, they were probably all for it.
 
Hold your own flag debate
Maybe other kids in your class have grandparents who also remember what it was like during the Great Flag Debate of 1964. If so, why not organize two teams to debate the issue in class? You may begin to understand why people can take symbols so seriously. If you want, ask your teacher to order a copy of News in Review, May 1998, a video and resource guide available from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that tells the story of the flag debate using news footage from the time. Or check out the supporting text at http://newsinreview.cbclearning.ca/wp-content/archives/may98/index.htm.
 
Design a flag for your class or club or sports team
The earliest flags were a lot like logos. They made one group instantly identifiable to others. The first step is to choose a symbol or symbols that can represent what your group is all about. For ideas and more advice, you can consult the experts at the Canadian Heraldic Authority. There are also some really good books about heraldry, which is the craft of creating flags and badges and coats of arms, especially A Canadian Heraldic Primer, by Kevin Greaves. You can order this book directly from the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada website: http://www.heraldry.ca.
 
Find out why Australia & New Zealand are still debating
Take a look at the national flags of Australia and New Zealand.
 
From a distance, you’d think they were identical. Both are versions of the British naval ensign still flown by the Royal Navy. Like Canada both these countries are former British colonies. But unlike Canada, they haven’t yet rid themselves of the old colonial symbols. In recent years, however, both countries have seen a popular movement to replace the existing flags with flags that are distinctive to each country. For more info, visit these websites:
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