Footnote – February 27, 2015 Letter, to:
The Private Secretary to
Her Majesty The Queen
London SW1A 1AA
Our flag represents the historic values of 1865 when, under Queen Victoria’s gracious declaration permission was given for the British ensign to be adapted …and a Vancouver Island flag to be unfurled for the first time.
As a colony Vancouver Island’s Legislative Assembly of 1856 became the first elected parliamentary democracy in the west, governing coastal affairs and defending British interests in pre-Confederation Canada. In fact the last parliament of the Colony of Vancouver Island sat from 1863 to 1866, before unification with the colony of British Columbia.
The new world presented Great Britain with the promise of discovery and challenge, testing the strength, determination and loyalty of the colonies across the country. On the west coast the British influence and association with the Crown gathered support in Nootka Sound in 1792, Captain George Vancouver negotiating secession of Spanish interests in meetings with Captain Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, assisted by Chief Maquinna of the Nu-chah-nuulth.
With almost ten years as the first elected assembly in British North America, west of the ‘United Province of Canada’ (Upper Canada), the Vancouver Island flag serves to capture the coastal values and culture of the time, providing a symbol of the Island’s identity and aspirations. The passage below describes the moment,
“In 1865 Queen Victoria authorized Crown Colonies to use the Blue Ensign with the badge of the colony emblazoned on the fly.
The badge of the Colony of Vancouver Island is based on the colony’s great seal designed by Benjamin Wyon of the Royal Mint. The badge consisted of the wand of Neptune, God of the Sea; Mercury’s wand of Commerce; the pinecone represents Vancouver Island’s prolific forests and the beaver for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
This flag has never been retired and can be flown today to proudly mark our history, Identity and legends.” (sic, Glen Alan, April 2011)
Vancouver’s Island, prominent in pre-Confederation history, also served as a cornerstone as Canada took shape across the continent. Uniting with the colony of British Columbia in 1866 the Island did not however become part of the Confederation of Canada until 1871.