Our Canadian Flag
Reviewed: July 2, 2004
By: Maxine Trottier / illustrations by Brian Deines
Publisher: North Winds Press
32 pages, $19.00
What more appropriate book to lead off a Canada Week review
column than this one, Our Canadian Flag. It even
better, in my mind any way, that Maxine Trottier has been in
the Yukon, having toured several communities just a few years
ago. I don't know that the dogsled race pictured on page 17
was inspired by that trip, but I can conjecture that it might
This is a book that works on a number of levels, and might
actually require two separate readings to deal with properly.
Most obviously it is a children's picture book, with full page
colour impressionistic paintings by Brian Deines.
What I will call the BIG text tends to follow the pictures (or
maybe it's the other way around). Set in a large type face
Trottier talks about what the flag means to the country by
telling us about all the places where it is on display:
businesses, official buildings, airports, sports events, in
space, on clothing, affixed to wreaths and waved in parades.
There's a more complex tale being told at the same time in a
boxed section at the bottom on each left hand page. These
sidebars, each with a smaller illustration, discuss the
historical significance of the maple, where and when Canada
got its colours (you may be surprised), what flags were used
before the Maple Leaf, where else the leaf has been used in
our history, how the flag design was picked and first
assembled, as well as some technical details about the parts
of the flag.
These sections also contain a number of quotations from
historical speeches given during the flag debates of 1964 and
on the first Flag Day, Feb. 15, 1965.
Oddly, it was another 30 years before we got around to marking
that day on the calendar, and it isn't a holiday yet.
There's a lot of information packed into this little book, and
it is clearly on the market at an appropriate time.