November 10, 2016 9:31 pm
Updated: November 14, 2016 12:51 pm

Does Edmonton need a new flag? Mayor Don Iveson wants to know

The City of Edmonton's official flag.

Credit, City of Edmonton

Do you think Edmonton needs a new flag? Did you even know Edmonton has a flag? Mayor Don Iveson hopes to spur conversation in Edmonton about the city’s current flag and whether or not it could use a makeover.

On Wednesday, Iveson put forward a motion at city council, asking administration to collect public input on Edmonton’s current flag, which incorporates the City of Edmonton’s Coat of Arms on a white field with two blue borders.

The blue is meant to symbolize strength and the North Saskatchewan River, while the white is mean to signify peace.

Iveson has also asked city staff to collect public input on a flag designed by Ryan McCourt, which was presented by the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations at Treaty Recognition Day at city hall in August.

McCourt’s flag design was part of an art contest on the theme of Treaty 6 Day. Iveson wrote in his post that the design was drawn from the text of the treaty, which reminds settlers and First Nations beneficiaries that the treaty is not time-limited, but enduring “as long as the sun shines, as long as the grass grows, and as long as the river flows.”


“Though I love the symbolism of our current flag, its design has been often critiqued,” Iveson said in a blog post Wednesday. “When we turned a crest into a flag, we sacrificed readability and simplicity.”

In his blog, Iveson referenced a TED Talk about flag design conducted by Roman Mars, which spurred the ongoing discussion about updating Edmonton’s current flag.

Mars, who prides himself in being obsessed with flags, said the ubiquitous symbols of pride are often terribly designed.

According to Mars, there are five basic principles when it comes to flag design:

  • Keep it simple
  • Use meaningful symbolism
  • Use two or three basic colours
  • No lettering or seals/coats of arms
  • Be distinctive

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So, does Edmonton’s flag follow these design principles? Iveson doesn’t think so.

“It’s fair to say our current flag design doesn’t exactly check many of these boxes,” he wrote.

“It’s important to note that I am not suggesting that we change the city’s crest, which is rich in meaning and symbolism. In fact, it’s one of my favourite features when I’m touring guests around city hall,” the mayor continued. “But the flag serves a different purpose in the life of a city.”

Iveson hopes to spark conversation about Edmonton’s flag and what’s right for Alberta’s Capital City.

Iveson’s motion still needs approval from city council. The topic will be discussed on Nov. 29.

To read more about the design and symbolism of McCourt’s flag, and to weigh in on both, head to Iveson’s website.








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