Here’s how to properly raise, fly, and retire your Canadian flag


This article was originally published in the Early Summer 2017 issue of Cottage Life magazine.

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 Canada’s 150th b’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.

Fly that flag! But, you know, correctly:

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. 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. 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. 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. “I should repurpose this, and sell it on Etsy!” No. You shouldn’t.

5. 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 a more logical strategy is actually his: “I guess I’d just…fold it up and place it in the garbage.”