A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


William Adrian Lockhart Reid (aka Patrick), the Mig 29 and the Canadian Flag
Sunday, March 19, 2006

Donegal born Patrick Reid was first in his class from Sandhurst in 1944. As a young tank commander (even though he loved airplanes) in the North Irish Horse in Italy, he played polo on captured German Army horses during the lulls in the heavy fighting. He came to Canada in 1949.

When Lester Pearson called Patrick Reid, late in October 1963 to get the quagmired proposal for the new Canadian flag in some order, he did a quick vexillogical research and went home. He and his wife, Allison, agreed the flag should be identical on both sides and a child should be able to draw it. Designer Jacques Saint-Cyr reduced the original 23-point sugar maple leaf to 13. Reid suggested the axing of an additional two. The original prototype (on a bedsheet sewn up by Joan O'Malley) was delivered to Sussex Drive in Ottawa on November 8, 1964. The national flag of Canada was raised on Parliament Hill on Feb 15, 1965.

I have photographed Patrick Reid many times but my favorite photograph of him is this one I took in 1989 with a Mig 29. It always thrills me to run into him in Kerrisdale. It seems I am one of the few in on the secret: Reid is a living, walking designer of our national flag!



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