Chautauqua resident Ross Robinson wants the “magnificent Canadian Maple Leaf flag” to fly proudly in Queen’s Royal Park.
The flagpole is paid for, he told councillors Monday night, the town just needs to okay it.
Tom and Jim Caldwell of Caldwell Securities, two long-time, active proud and patriotic NOTLers, have committed to donating the funds to cover the cost of a flagpole — one of good quality, councillors were assured — with a Canadian flag and the installation of it in Queen’s Royal Park.
Robinson says he has done “much street level research,” including in grocery stores, the Avondales, the Stagecoach and local pubs, which indicates
support for his proposal, he said.
The Canadian flag “punches well above its weight on a global recognition scale,” he said, and is simple, elegant and “leaves no doubt” about which country it represents.
Currently, there is no indication from the Niagara River or Lake Ontario that this side is Canada, he said — the only flag seen from the water is the Union Jack at Fort George.
Robinson gave a little bit of a history lesson about the discussions and controversy about a new flag, that began in 1925, but it wasn’t until Feb. 15, 1965 that Prime Minister Lester Pearson dedicated the Canadian flag when it was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill during a public ceremony, with these words: “May the land over which this new flag flies remain united in freedom and justice…sensitive, tolerant, and compassionate towards all.”
The time has come, said Robinson, to “raise the proud Canadian flag in Queen’s Royal Park.”
Then, the tens of thousands of photographs that will be taken will include the gazebo, the river, across the river Fort Niagara, and the Canadian flag as part of their pictures, he said, adding, “Why hasn’t it been done before?”
At this difficult time in NOTL history, he added, “we have a chance to show unity, not divisiveness.”
A motion made by Wendy Cheropita was approved by councillors, including that the staff decide on the exact location, that there be an agreement with the Caldwells that will make clear to future councils that only the Canadian flag be flown at that location, that it be installed before the summer games begin in Niagara, and that a report come back from staff on the subject, including the exact location.
Parks and recreation director Kevin Turcotte provided a reminder to councillors that the staff perspective is to minimize items such as furnishings and signs in Queen’s Royal Park, and to maintain the park’s natural aspects, including the green space and historic views.
Coun. Clare Cameron suggested that the view across the river from the park is of great national significance, and said she would “assume it won’t be blocked, ironically,” by a Canadian flag.