The Vancouver Island flag was brought into circulation after it was created in 1988 by Michael F. Halleran. (Black Press Media file photo)

How the Vancouver Island Flag flew under the radar for over a century

A B.C. history buff created the flag in the ’80s, 100 years after it was ordered

The only place the Vancouver Island flag flew before the late ’80s was under the radar.

Though it was authorized by Queen Victoria in 1865, the Island flag didn’t exist until over 100 years later, when Michael F. Halleran, at the time a student at the University of British Columbia, took it from history books to Victoria flagpoles.

“I am interested in flags and symbolism and things like that, and I very much identify with the Island,” he said. “What I found in my research is that in 1865, the British Government had decided to regularize the identity of government vessels [so] the government of each colony should have an identifying flag.”

READ ALSO: Sooke’s ‘foreign flag’ flies proudly in the town’s centre

READ ALSO: Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

And while a badge was commissioned for Vancouver Island, it had never actually been produced on a flag. Vancouver Island was annexed by British Columbia shortly after the symbol’s creation.

So Halleran, using elements from the Great Seal of the Island Colony, created a flag for Vancouver Island – over 100 years since it was ordered by the United Kingdom.

The flag features a defaced Blue Ensign – with a Union flag in the canton and a white disk with various symbols representing some of the pillars of the Island in the Victorian era, and for the most part, today.

The beaver – sitting upon a small island amidst water – represents the colony’s early connection to the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Trident of Neptune, crossed with Caduceus – representing commerce – symbolizes oceans, fisheries and trade. Halleran said the pine cone, floating above all the other symbols, is a representation of the forest and lumber industry.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island Party lays out its declaration of independence from BC

Halleran took the design to a print shop in 1988.

“They made me [a flag] from the image,” he said, adding that media attention of his creation led to an explosion of interest in the more than century-old flag.

“What happened is it immediately caused a flood of inquiries about obtaining one,” he recalled. “Very soon, they were mass produced and you can buy them in any size.”

“There has been a longstanding question of identity and pride in the Island identity,” he added. “If it hadn’t taken off it would have just been a curiosity. As it was, it became very popular.”

Halleran noted that he has no copyright claim on the design, saying if the copyright goes to anyone, “it’s the Crown.”

Halleran, now 75 and retired, went on to teach history before a career as a public servant.

Today, the Vancouver Island flag can be spotted around the Island and Victoria, including outside of Chateau Victoria.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

WATCH: Our Place Therapeutic Recovery Community turns into a ‘place of healing’

500 volunteers, 120 businesses worked to transform View Royal community

A party for 11 pups and their adoptive families in Beckwith Park in Saanich

The coonhound siblings reunited at a barbeque on Saturday

HarbourCats bats hot in home return

Victoria squad downs Yakima Valley Pippins 17-2

Victoria veteran receives French Legion of Honour, becoming knight of France

Ted Vaughan was a pilot in the 408 “Goose” Squadron in WW2

Witness the passion and fire of flamenco in Victoria this July

Seventh annual Victoria Flamenco Festival features free and ticketed performances downtown

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read