5 rules of etiquette for flying a Canadian flag at the cottage

Canadian-flag Vadim Rodnev/Shutterstock

Do you need to apologize to the Canadian flag? You might. We probably do. Every cottage flag-flyer has made a faux pas or two. So, for Victoria Day or Canada Day, brush up on your flag-tiquette. “It’s basically just common sense,” says Rick Archbold, the author of A Flag for Canada, a biography of the Maple Leaf.

1. Respect the flag

No talking while you raise it. “A moment of silence is never a bad thing in cottage country,” says Archbold. “You’re also supposed to take off your hat. But I’m not sure how much it happens.”

2. Keep it tidy

Don’t fly a faded, ripped or tattered flag. If it’s dirty, wash it. (You can put the Canadian flag in your washing machine. Unless it’s dry clean only. Common sense, people.)

3. Let it fly alone

One flagpole? One flag. “You never fly a Canadian flag on the same pole as another flag,” says Archbold. Even though a Maple Leaf paired with a Jolly Roger would look wicked cool.

4. A flag’s purpose

Don’t use your flag as a tablecloth. Or a dog blanket. Or a dust rag. Don’t Frankenstein it into dollhouse curtains or a bikini. “Should I repurpose this and sell it on Etsy?” No. You shouldn’t.

5. Disposing of your flag

No burning the flag. Wait, never mind—burning is actually an approved way to dispose of the Canadian flag. So is burying it. “But then some kid 100 years from now will dig it up and say, ‘I wonder what this is,'”says Archbold. Maybe his strategy is more logical: “I guess I’d just…fold it up and place it in the garbage.”

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