Pearson Pennant - The alternative design for the Canadian flag championed by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and designed by Alan Brookman Beddoe
Today on Rewind the great Canadian flag debate. The flag that is recognized around the world with its red bars and stylized maple leaf on a white background is about as Canadian as you can get- right up there with maple syrup, lumberjacks and the Rockies. Next week, on February 15, it's officially National Flag Day. And so today we celebrate our flag with a look at its rather rocky inception and birth.
Before 1965, Canada's flag, since before Confederation, was The Red Ensign, which was based on a British naval flag. But in 1958, a fraternal group called The Native Sons of Canada launched a campaign for a new one. On May 14, 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson announced that he planned to introduce a new national flag. He favoured a design with three red maple leaves conjoined on a blue or a white background. His second idea was a single maple leaf with blue bars on each side.
The flag debate divided English Canadians between imperialists who wanted to keep the Red Ensign and nationalists who wanted a new flag. Francophones were generally ambivalent.