The Images of a Country
Saskatchewan Council for Archives & Archivists
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"Pearson's Pennant"

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Pearson had enlisted the help of John Matheson, Liberal MP for Leeds, Colonel Fortescue Duguid, and Commander Alan Beddoe to research the proper heraldry and colours for a distinctive Canadian flag. On a Saturday morning visit to 24 Sussex Drive, Alan Beddoe brought out a design with three red maple leaves on a white background, with blue bars on either side representing "From sea to sea."

Matheson was horrified - he thought the design "amateurish," "dreadful" and without heraldic principles. Pearson, however, was enchanted. Copies of Beddoe's design were made up immediately and publicly displayed.

Flag designed by Alan Beddoe and favoured by Lester Pearson. It came to be known as "Pearson's Pennant" or "The Bow-Tie Banner."

The design quickly came to be known as "Pearson's Pennant" and unquestionably became the forcus of much of the anger over the flag issue. Aside from the aesthetics, many criticized Pearson's tactics in immediately favouring one design and branded him a tyrant and his methods dictatorial; feeling one personn's choice would be forced upon them, many Canadians echoed Diefenbaker's call for a national referendum on the flag issue.

Recalling the flag debate nearly twenty years later, however, John Matheson could not be certain that Pearson had not known all along his design would not be chosen.

[The Rockslide]

Al Beaton - The Telegram; 4 May 1964

"you don't see red ensigns muckin' up the lawns like this"

Len Norris - The Vancouver Sun; 3 October 1964



 2003 Diefenbaker Canada Centre Archives