By Scott Mainwaring
Vexilloid Tabloid #63
The flag of the Canadian region of Labrador—the mainland portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador—is enjoying a resurgence of interest and adoption, flying at the border crossings with Quebec and at the city hall of the provincial capital of St. Johns.
The flag is documented particularly well in the online Flags of the World database (crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ca-nl-lb.html), thanks to a concise 2002 essay posted there by its designer, Labradorian and former provincial legislator Michael S. Martin.
The case of Labrador’s flag provides a number of useful lessons for flag adoption.
First, the 1974 flag was a labor of love by Martin, his wife Patricia, and a close circle of friends—not the result of a bureaucratic process or referendum.
Second, the Martins did not initially make just a few flags to display. Patricia, “the Betsy Ross of Labrador”, sewed 64—enough for every town and village in Labrador… and then some!
Last, it provides a word of caution about copyrighting a flag.
Annoyed by sloppy versions being used on souvenir items, Martin attempted to enforce conformity to the original design by copyrighting it. But this only resulted in manufacturers purposely varying the design to avoid infringement, resulting in confusion and inconsistency.
(The holders of the flag’s copyright actually encourage people “to use the flag whenever and wherever possible”.)
- FOTW: Labrador (Canada)
- Brandon Pardy: How Labrador got its colours (The Independent, 20 Jan 2014)
- Labrador flags to ‘officially’ fly at N.L.-Quebec borders (CBC News, 30 Mar 2015)
- Government decisions about Labrador flag, group funding ‘quite strategic’, says professor (CBC News, 31 Mar 2015)
- Denise Cole: Labrador: Our People, Our Land, Our Flag (The Independent, 3 Apr 2015)
- Jacob Barker: Labradorians want official status for their flag (CBC News, 31 Mar 2016)
- Premier Ball Participates in Labrador Flag Raising at Border Crossing (provincial press release, 19 Aug 2016)
- Louis Power: St. John’s will fly Labrador flag forevermore (The Aurora, 1 Feb 2017)