Free Event

The public is invited to a special event to celebrate the
54th Birthday of our Canadian Maple Leaf Flag
National Flag of Canada Day, Friday February 15th 2019
Flavor Phil’s (formerly CJ’s Banquet Hall)
803 Chelsea Street Brockville
12 Noon – 4:00 PM

The Canadian Flag Education Centre is proud to present a day of information and celebration of our beloved Canadian Maple Leaf Flag.

Please join us for cake and coffee and a one hour information presentation by Robert J. (Bob) Harper Founder and Executive Director as he provides the details of exactly how our Canadian Maple Leaf Flag became the National Flag of Canada being flown for the first time on February 15th 1965. Also learn about how the “Brockville Connection” has been documented in the story of 2 very important Brockville Citizens and their work. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

Brockville has such a rich history and the information relating to the work of John Ross Matheson and George M. Beley has been underscored because these 2 Brockville Citizens set out to “get the job done” and not bask in glory, accolades and awards. Please come and learn about some of the things these 2 Brockvillians accomplished.

For further information please contact : or call 613-498-4992

Canadian Flag Holiday – February 15th – Lets Celebrate Our Flag

This Canada Flag Day holiday proposition is an “all-party” project, designed for all patriotic Canadian constituents and their MP‘s, whatever their political affiliation.

Now you can make your voice heard. Tell your Member of Parliament to support MP Peter Julian’s Private Member’s Bill (C-337) to declare February 15 or the third Monday in February, Canada Flag Day, a national holiday across Canada.

Please visit   for more details and links.

Canadian Maple Leaf Flag Honour List

In an attempt to provide all Canadians with a detailed story of individual contributions of the many loving hands who in some way (some small, some large) were responsible for bringing our beloved Canadian Maple Leaf Flag to fruition. This list is not intended to exclude anyone who contributed in any way to bring the Canadian Maple Leaf Flag to fruition. We are bringing awareness to all Canadian’s, the direct contributions of the individuals and groups with verifiable facts. Chronological account from 1895-96 through to fruition in 1965.

1895-96 Edward M. Chadwick – Lawyer- Heraldry / History enthusiast who first recommended to the Canadian Government  in 1895-96 a National Flag for Canada with the Maple Leaf being the favoured emblem. REF, U of T library

February 8th 1919 MajorGeneral (later Sir) Eugene Fiset – First person to suggest in writing February 8th 1919, the emblem of Canada be “a single red maple leaf on a white field” with two red borders (Armorial Bearings).  REF, Matheson files, Government of Canada, RHSC archives October 1968 Matheson Speech

1921 King George V – Proclaimed Canada’s official colours as Red & White
REF, Government of Canada Archives

1946 Paul Martin Sr. – Headed a committee which set the standards of a National Flag of Canada, this committee failed to bring forth a proposal.
REF, Government of Canada Archives

1948-64 George Beley – Friend and advisor to John Ross Matheson on all things relating to heraldry, flags and honours from 1948 through 1975 in Brockville Ontario. Mr. Beley was one of the founding pioneers of the Heraldry Society of Canada

1956-65 Lester B. Pearson – Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner who dedicated his efforts to bring a National Flag to Canada through the Parliamentary process in the 1960’s.  REF Government of Canada Archives

1961-65 John Ross Matheson – Member of Parliament / Flag Expert who was responsible for bringing all of the suggestions, designs and details of the National Flag of Canada to fruition from 1961-65.  REF, Government of Canada Archives, Flag Committee Archives

1963/64 George Bist – Advertising executive who spent many hours communicating his input to Government of Canada personnel relating to the need and design of a National Flag of Canada. It was Mr. Bist’s suggestion of the exact proportions of the two times length as height as well as the white centre section being two times the size of the red borders. He also was responsible for the sizing of the maple leaf to all of the other proportions. REF, Flag Committee Archives

Sept 10th – October 22 1964 Members of the Flag Committee of 1964 – All 15 Members of Parliament who worked diligently to bring a recommended National Flag of Canada to Parliament to be voted on in 1964.  REF, Government of Canada Archives

March 1964 George Stanley – Made the suggestion to John Ross Matheson of a single red maple leaf on a white field be the basis of the National Flag of Canada (recycled Fiset concept) in 1964.  REF, Flag Committee Archives

1964 Alan Beddoe – Government of Canada Artist and Heraldry expert who presented Prime Minister Pearson with his own design for a National Flag of Canada which became known as the “Pearson Pennant” and was the beginning point of the “Great Flag Debate” in 1964. REF, Flag Committee Archives

October 1964 Arthur Lower – Professor Lower was one of several presenters of information directly to the Flag Committee in October of 1964. His moving statements relating to the opportunity to bring unity to all Canadians through a National Flag was most interesting. REF, Flag Committee Archives

October 1964 Conrad Swan – Provided John Ross Matheson with expert advice on the heraldic and historical considerations of a National Flag. REF, Flag Committee Archives

October 1964 Fortescue Duguid – Military historian/heraldry expert who presented his input and views of the characteristics and principals of a National Flag for Canada to the Flag Committee in 1964. REF, Flag Committee Archives

October 1964 Patrick Reid – The head of the design team at Expositions Canada who was requested to become involved in the final design and creation of the Canadian Maple Leaf Flag as we know it today. REF Flag Committee Archives

October 1964 Jacques St. Cyr – Mr. St. Cyr was a member of the Expositions Canada design team. He was the creator of the stylized maple leaf as we see it today. His first design had 13 points of the maple leaf and a stem with a slanted base which was used on the first prototype flown in the wind tunnels at the NRC. The 11 points and straightened stem were the final design of Jacques St. Cyr, John Ross Matheson and Patrick Reid completed on November 9th 1964.

Ken Donavan – Working with the team from Expositions Canada, Mr. Donavan was asked to find a company to sew several prototype flags on Friday November 6th, so the Prime Minister could actually fly them over the weekend. Due to the fact it was late on a Friday Mr. Donovan could not find a company to execute this task immediately. He requested his daughter to complete the task because she had a sewing machine and was always ready to help.

Joan O’Malley – On Friday November 6th at approximately 8pm Joan O’Malley began working on 3 prototype flags, she sewed until close to midnight to complete all three. These three prototype flags were then taxied to the Prime Minister for his review.

November 1964 – June 1966 Dr. Gunter Wyszecki (NRC team) – The involvement on the National Research Council of Canada team began in the wind tunnel testing of the prototype flags in November of 1964. Dr. Gunter Wyszecki was also responsible to research the scientific standard of the colours of the National Flag of Canada from February of 1965 to June of 1966. Dr. Wyszecki and his dedicated team of scientists created the very first scientific standard for colour of a national flag. There are more than 500,000 shades of red and this team instituted the exact colour of red we, as Canadians admire in the Canadian Maple Leaf Flag flown around the world today. REF Government of Canada Archives, NRC Archives

December 9th 1964 Lucien Lamoureux – Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons who accepted a motion from the floor of the House of Commons to bring the discussions and debate of the National Flag of Canada to a vote and invoking closure. REF, Hansard Journals

December 9th 1964 Leon Balcer – Conservative Member of Parliament from Quebec who requested a motion of closure by the Government on the “Great Flag Debate”.  REF, Hansard Journals

December 9th 1964 Real Caouette – Social Credit Member of Parliament who seconded the motion put forth by Leon Balcer to invoke closure of debate and call a vote on the National Flag of Canada. REF, Hansard Journals

1964-65 Canada’s 26th Parliament – It was one of the most vicious and divisive debates in the history of our Canadian Parliament. The Great Flag Debate raged on for months in the House of Commons. The final outcome was a 163-78 vote in favour of the National Flag of Canada being accepted as the Canadian Maple Leaf Flag on December 15th 1964. This act of Parliament was beyond doubt, one of the most incredible outcomes from a minority Government in the history of Canada, from this democratic process came a symbol, every Canadian can be proud to see as the most respected symbol of Canada in the world today. REF, Hansard Journals

December 15th 1964 Robert Thompson – Mr. Thompson was Member of the Creditiste Party in Parliament in 1964 and was instrumental in persuading members of his party to vote yes on the flag issue. See vote Hansard Journals

December 15th 1964 Paul Martineau – Mr. Martineau was a Conservative MP who worked behind the scenes to convince other Conservative Members of Parliament to vote yes on the flag issue. See vote Hansard Journals

January 28th 1965 Queen Elizabeth II – Proclaimed the National Flag of Canada on January 28th 1965. This was the final piece of a process which spanned more than 96 years in the making. REF Government of Canada Archives

February 15th 1965 Archie Cairns – Pipe Major who officially piped the new National Flag of Canada from the Centre Block into Parliament on February 15th 1965. Major Cairns was one of the world’s most respected and accomplished Canadian pipers. REF, Government of Canada Archives

February 15th 1965. Joseph Secours – 26 year old RCMP officer was chosen to be the person responsible to officially raise the first National Flag of Canada on February 15th 1965. REF, Ottawa Citizen February 15th 1965

Governor General Georges Vanier – The Governor General of Canada during the Great Flag Debate and the process to bring the Canadian Maple Leaf Flag to fruition. The Governor-General of Canada is responsible to oversee all of Canada’s symbols and Honours. REF, Government of Canada Archives

It was the request of the “Father of our Flag” The Honourable John Ross Matheson that we ensure credit is provided to each and every individual or group who made it possible to bring a National Flag of Canada to fruition. This document is intended to bring awareness to the process, people and institutions which were involved in the National Flag of Canada being brought to fruition in 1964-65.

The Canadian Flag Education Centre is proud to have the opportunity to provide this document to be reviewed by Canadians as a guideline of information both chronological and historical .This is a very simplified and condensed overview of a part in Canadian History which took almost 100 years to complete.

This milestone in Canadian History has provided all Canadians with a symbol which is truly recognized and respected throughout the entire world, the Canadian Maple Leaf Flag is the symbol of our Canadian Heritage.

Respectfully submitted by,
Robert J. Harper
Executive Director
Canadian Flag Education Centre

John Ross Matheson passes away at 96

Large Canadian flag at half mast in honour of John Ross Matheson the father of the Canadian flag.

John Ross Matheson, OC CD QC FRHSC (November 14, 1917 – December 27, 2013) was a Canadian lawyer, judge, and politician who helped develop both the maple leaf flag and the Order of Canada.

Video provided by Dale Elliott and used with permission

As part of our 100th anniversary celebrations, this Friday, June 3rd 2016


Le français suit

As part of our 100th anniversary celebrations, this Friday, June 3rd, NRC will donate the historic first colour-standardized Canadian national flag to the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will deliver remarks and honour six NRC alumni for their outstanding research over the past 100 years.

You are invited to watch the ceremony live via webcast at 2:30 p.m. ET. ** In order to minimize technical difficulties, we encourage people to gather together in common meeting rooms.

Note: employees participating at the Centennial festivities during work hours may use code D206-100TH to capture their time in Sigma.

The Centennial Team

Dans le cadre des célébrations entourant notre centenaire, ce vendredi 3 juin, le CNRC remettra au Musée des sciences et de la technologie un cadeau à caractère historique : le premier drapeau national canadien à appliquer des normes de couleur internationals.

Son Excellence, le très honorable David Johnston, gouverneur général du Canada, prononcera une allocution et rendra hommage à six anciens du CNRC pour leurs remarquables travaux de recherche au cours des 100 dernières années.

Nous vous invitons à être témoins du déroulement de la cérémonie diffusée en direct par webdiffusion à 14 h 30 HE. ** Afin de réduire les difficultés techniques au minimum, nous vous prions de vous réunir dans des salles de réunion pour l’écouter en groupes.

Remarque : Les employés qui participent aux festivités du Centenaire pendant les heures de travail peuvent utiliser le code Sigma suivant : D206-100TH.

L’Équipe du Centenaire

Royal Heraldry Society of Canada celebrates 50 years

Heraldic roots in Leeds & Grenville have everlasting results!!!

In June of 1946, a British Gentleman arrived in Brockville Ontario, Leeds County to begin his new job as the Manager of the Royal Bank of Canada. His name was George M. Beley.

Mr. Beley and his wife Irene soon became entrenched in the social life of Brockville. When Mr. Beley was not at work or involved in a social event he was buried in research. His research was also his passion, the study of heraldry.

For most of us we do not know much about the study of heraldry, so a brief description may be in order. Heraldry dates back to the 13th century and includes the study of crests, coats of arms, flags, and honours (awards) to list a few of the interests of heraldry.

In 1948 a young, wounded WW2 Veteran and Lawyer arrived in Brockville in Leeds County to set up his Law practice, his name was John Ross Matheson. Mr. Matheson and his wife Edith soon became entrenched in the social life of Brockville.

When Mr. Matheson was not working in his Law office or attending social events with his wife Edith he was buried in research. His research was his passion of heraldry.

Very soon John Ross Matheson (a Liberal) and George M. Beley (a staunch Conservative) were the best of friends and together were entrenched in the study of heraldry.

Over the next 20 years these 2 men became known by the Heraldic Authority in England and Scotland as highly respected experts in this field of study and worked on some very interesting and productive heraldic projects.

One of those projects was to acquire the City of Brockville official Grant of Arms and Flag in 1966. After years of working to acquire their personal “arms” they felt it was time to have a truly Canadian Heraldic Society.

They worked with Philips Till and Alan Beddoe to form the Heraldry Society of Canada in 1966 (now Royal Heraldry Society of Canada)

In 1961 John Ross Matheson was elected as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Leeds County (now Leeds & Grenville). In July of 1961 in one of the first meetings with Lester B. Pearson leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, he was asked by Mr. Pearson to begin researching what it would take to bring a National Flag of Canada to fruition when the Liberal Party formed Government in the future. This request was made by Mr. Pearson on that day because he had been informed of John Ross Matheson’s work in the study of heraldry, arms, crests and flags. From this point on Mr. Matheson was recognized as the Liberal Party of Canada’s Parliamentary Flag expert.

The next 3 ½ years proved to be a very productive time for Mr. Matheson’s heraldic endeavours in Parliament and his continual collaboration with his dear friend George Beley. This long-time friendship and heraldic research is the basis of how our Canadian Maple Leaf Flag was brought to fruition in 1964/65 and this is why Leeds & Grenville is the “Birthplace of the Canadian Flag”.

From 1948 until 1966 these 2 amazing Brockville Citizens worked to promote all things heraldic, this was an 18 year work of commitment and passion. And let it not be forgotten that John Ross Matheson was instrumental in the creation and design of Canada’s highest honour “The Order of Canada” a historic Canadian symbol which is also recognized and respected through-out the entire world.

Leeds & Grenville has so much history to be proud of and these 2 men and their accomplishments should be promoted and honoured by each and every citizen of our community. As a point of interest, one of the first individuals living in Canada to be heraldically “Granted Arms” from England was General (later Sir) Isaac Brock.

Written by,
Robert J. (Bob) Harper
Executive Director
Canadian Flag Education Centre

Brockville as Birthplace of The Canadian Flag

John Ross Matheson, Endorsed Brockville as Birthplace of The Canadian Flag

“The idea of Brockville, being the basis of the whole thing, is, is, so very valuable, I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate it” ~ John Ross Matheson

John Ross Matheson (father of the flag) signs a Canadian Flag with the help Robert Harper the Executive Director of the Canadian Flag Education centre.