Today is Canada's flag day, which means if you get a chance, you should really take a moment to appreciate the country's emblem. It's so simple, yet so instantly recognizable: two red bars, and a red maple leaf centred on a white background. Perfect. However, this design wasn't even around until 1965. A year before that, Canadian flag designs were submitted for approval from the public.
It all started with Lester B. Pearson, who in 1960, declared that he wanted to put an end to the "flag problem" in Canada. While there had been earlier discussions about a national flag through the years, nothing was ever settled.
Pearson proposed his own design, but it wasn't exactly popular with his opposition. A Committee was formed and submissions were accepted, thus beginning the "Great Flag Debate."
While Pearson's original design made the cut, it was ultimately the flag we know today, submitted by George Stanley, Dean of Arts at the Royal Military College that was chosen. It was actually based on the RMC's own original flag.
"Today, I invite Canadians from coast to coast to coast to reflect on our flag and what it means to each of us," Prime Minister Trudeau said in a statement on Flag Day, "a symbol of our rich history, and a promise of the bright future we are building together."
With that, let's take a look at some designs that never made the cut.
The "Pearson Pennant"
We begin this list with a look at what Lester B. Pearson wanted for the Canadian flag. While structurally similar to what we have today, it's just not quite there. Why have three maple leaves when one is all it takes?
A Close Up Of A Muppet
It's kind of hard to tell what this flag design by Forrest C. Nickerson was supposed to represent. To us, it just looks like Elmo took a selfie with the camera fully zoomed in.
The One Thing We Don't Want To Be Known For
Anyone who has had a run-in with a Canada goose knows that they are the exact opposite of what we want to be known for: mean, loud, inconsiderate, and just a general pain. We prefer the humble beaver.
Canada, By Mercedes Benz
Seriously, this flag just makes us think of luxury vehicles more than the true north strong and free. This could have invited all kinds of lawsuits.
This Flag Is So Extra
Seriously, had this person never heard the phrase, "less is more?" We can appreciate how much Canadiana is crammed into this design, but imagine trying to draw this yourself! No thanks.
A Flag That's Always Watching
Yeah, this would have been great. "Hey what's the national symbol of Canada?" "You know, it's the giant eye, like Sauron in Lord Of The Rings." Next!
Designing This Must Have Taken A Hard Day's Night
Help! This flag is amazing and we didn't pick it! We could have spent eight days a week looking at this design. It's the kind of flag that could start a revolution. There's just something in the way it woos us. Okay, that's all the Beatles puns we can handle right now.
Some Designs Were Just Boring
While we can appreciate the simplicity of this design, there's just nothing to it. It looks like the letters "C" and "A," but what do they mean? "Canada" and... "Awesome?"
This One Is Actually Pretty Cool
While it might not be as straightforward as the classic maple leaf, this "Northern Lights" design is actually quite imaginative, especially with each bar representing a province. It also would have been nice for those of us who can't see the actual aurora on a regular basis.
Another Abstract Concept
This design imagines the geography of Canada in simplified abstract art. We have to say, this is also a really original and unique idea.
Or We Could Just Put Our Name On It
Seriously, this makes our country look less like an actual nation and more like a theme park. Canada is fun, but this would have been a hard pass.