NATIONAL FLAG OF CANADA DAY ~ FEBRUARY 15th

NATIONAL FLAG OF CANADA DAY ~ FEBRUARY 15th

    February 15th is National Flag of Canada Day. The national flag of Canada was inaugurated on February 15, 1965.  The anniversary of this date is officially called the “National Flag of Canada Day”, often shortened to “Flag Day”.  The red-white-red flag with the maple leaf in the centre replaced the Canadian red ensign on that day.   George F.G. Stanley designed our current flag, which is inspired by the Royal Military College of Canada’s flag.  A multi-parliamentary committee formed to select a new flag unanimously chose the design on October 29, 1964; the House of Commons passed the design on December 15, 1964.  Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed the new flag on January 28, 1965, and it was inaugurated on February 15, 1965. Our Canadian national flag, sometimes referred to as the “maple leaf flag”, is flown on many buildings, including private homes on National Flag of Canada Day.  Some people wear pins in the form of the flag; schools often have special lessons on the Canadian national flag and its history around this time of year. Special public events have been held in some years.  For example, one million flags were distributed in the “One in a Million National Flag Challenge” in 1996 so Canadians could display them on Flag Day in 1997.  In 2005, celebrations were held to honour the 40th anniversary of the flag’s inauguration.  Some businesses gave out flags or decorated buildings with large versions of the red and white maple leaf flag. The image of the red maple leaf is not only used on flags, but also on Canadian postage stamps and pins.  Since...
PARAGON  PATRIOTIC CHINA “A BIT OF HISTORY IN A TEACUP”

PARAGON PATRIOTIC CHINA “A BIT OF HISTORY IN A TEACUP”

Something From Our Archives Paragon Patriotic Series China “ A Bit of History in a Tea Cup ” In the early stages of WW2 Britain began to feel the grip of greater austerity as they attempted to save resources for the War Effort. Even the manufacture of chinaware was affected with only a small amount of plain white pieces produced for domestic use. The Paragon China Company had been manufacturing commemorative china “by appointment to Queen Mary” since 1933 and “Queen Elizabeth” since 1938. Paragon asked, and was granted, permission to manufacture colourful china pieces for export to the North American and Commonwealth markets. One would not normally associate chinaware within the realm of military collecting or patriotism but some of the patterns and themes of these pieces are worth a look as they depict the resolve of the British and their Allies during the struggle that was World War Two. The donation of a cup and saucer for our War On The Home Front exhibit, emblazoned with the pilot wings and Ensign of the R.C.A.F  led us to look a bit further into the Series and the Paragon China Company. The greatest number of these pieces of the Paragon Patriotic China that are offered today for sale and auction are to be found in Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. It likely that most of these pieces were sent there by servicemen in England to loved ones at home. No production numbers exist and there is no record of the pattern and types of pieces produced. Occasionally a new piece will appear in an online auction identified...
ALONG WITH THE LETTERS HOME ~ SWEETHEART JEWELRY

ALONG WITH THE LETTERS HOME ~ SWEETHEART JEWELRY

For the military during WWI and WWII, exchanging letters and mementos kept them connected with home; this strengthened relationships while time and distance separated families.  Many of the sentimental items sent home by servicemen have been referred to as sweetheart jewelry. Starting in WWI, young men began the tradition of sending the jewelry home; this custom grew even more popular during WWII.  Some of it was handcrafted in the trenches but much of it was machine-made and sold to soldiers, who then sent it back home.  During World War II, most precious metals were rationed and used to build weapons, tanks, ships, airplanes, and other machinery needed for the Allies’ campaign.  As a result, most of the sweetheart items from this time were made from non-precious or semi-precious materials such as Bakelite, celluloid, wood, mother-of-pearl, shell, ivory, rhinestones, enamel, and cheap, readily available wire.  Though “sweetheart” is the word used to describe the jewelry, not all of it was given to actual sweethearts; indeed it was also given to mothers, sisters, and wives.  (Pieces meant for moms often have the word “mother” incorporated into the designs). Sweetheart Pins are meant to be worn on a coat lapel or “discreetly” on a dress.  Some are brooches ~           Some are enamelled, like these maple leaf pins ~       Others have the maple leaf as an integral part of the design ~           Of course, wings indicating the Air Force were the centrepiece ~           Lockets were made ~   Sometimes the sweetheart jewelry came in sets ~  ...
THE LETTERS TO PTE ERNEST IVANY ~ AN EXCITING UPDATE!

THE LETTERS TO PTE ERNEST IVANY ~ AN EXCITING UPDATE!

You might recall the posts I wrote about a set of letters donated to the Museum; these were written to Pte Ernest Ivany toward the end of WWII.  I talked about the importance of letter writing as a window into our history.  It’s important, not only to write, but also to hold on to those letters that might have some historical significance.  What I didn’t share with you is that this set of letters wasn’t donated by Pte Ernest Ivany, but by someone who saw them at an antique table and knew that they needed to be in a Museum setting.  By donating them to our Museum, this person gave us all a gift, a gift of another way of looking at that time in history.  By reading these particular letters, we learned of life here on the coast, as experienced by his family and friends as well as something about his brother, Frank, as he served overseas. When I finished reading and recording information from the letters, I wondered if I had correctly understood the family and friend relationships.  I wondered if Ernest actually returned to the farm as his family requested.  And I wondered if Ernest was still alive.  I knew the family farmed in the Creston area and so I checked to see if any members of the Ivany family still lived there.  And?  I found an Ernest Ivany!  I decided to write a letter, explaining the work I’d been doing and asking if he was the Ernest Ivany of the letters.  Imagine my excitement when I heard back from him, telling me I’d found him!  He’s in...
HARRY FURNISS ~ AN UPDATE

HARRY FURNISS ~ AN UPDATE

You may recall having read about Harry Furniss on our website some time ago.  We recently learned that he passed away at the age of 95.  His obituary read in part, ” … Harry flew for 6 years in the RCAF at home and overseas in WWII.  After 15 years of journalism on daily newspapers (Toronto Telegram, Vancouver Province) he moved into a public relations consulting career with government and private clients.  Upon retirement at age 59, Harry grew a beard and went to art school in Victoria; gave up yachting after 40 years and returned to flying at age 71; wrote three books of Memoirs, The Flying Game, Sea Fever, Family and Friends … Harry was a cheerful, witty and creative chap who was blessed with many close business and social friends around the world…” Our Museum is thankful for the donation of his copious notes and clippings made by Harry himself.  If you’d like to see them, come in for a...
Elinor Florence Wartime Wednesday

Elinor Florence Wartime Wednesday

Last summer as Mel was going through the archives he found a photo and some newspaper clippings for a veteran named Peggy Francis. Knowing that Elinor was interested in women’s stories from WWII we sent her the clippings. Today she sent a short note and a link to her post: Hi, I posted the Peggy Francis stuff on my blog today, and a link to your website. Maybe you would like to share it. Thanks again and I’ll keep you posted if anything turns up. Elinor Florence It’s wonderful to be able to have a hand in sharing stories like this! Corrine...

Get our articles sent via
email