Duncan celebrates its 100th birthday with a new flag
Duncan celebrated its 100th birthday Sunday by unveiling a new flag.
But it may take a while to determine what city residents think of their new symbol designed by Duncan Councillor Sharon Jackson.
Besides the few hundred party-goers who attended the downtown centennial celebration, few people polled on the street Tuesday had seen the flag — which features Native salmon and a silhouette of city hall on a Vancouver Canucks blue-and-green background.
The process leading to the creation of the new flag had been on the receiving end of controversy after some accused the city of not consulting citizens enough in the decision-making process.
Geoffrey Chaster was one of the critics. He said the end product did nothing to change his mind.
Chaster said the symbols on the flag aren’t focused on the town of Duncan and he is disappointed the idea of including pioneers of the town was rejected early in the game.
“It’s all municipality, it’s a joke,” he said. “They (city hall) didn’t even try consulting the community. They didn’t do any research and they don’t give a damn,” he added, claiming most of the designs on the flag aren’t even in Duncan except for the clock tower.
“To me it’s just a bunch of dead fish on a rag. Sharon Jackson and city hall just don’t know what they’re doing.”
Few community members polled on the street felt as passionate as Chaster, however. Most were unaware Duncan was getting a new symbol, but were OK with the net result — calling it “nice,” “something new,” and “something different.”
“It’s nice that the city did this. I didn’t know anything about the controversy, but I think they did a good job representing the town,” said Jesse Lalond.
“I like the idea. It all fits together,” said Cowichan resident George Seward.
“It really shows what the town is and we’re lucky to be here. The flag has a little bit of everything,” Seward said as he gestured at the various elements of the flag.
Jackson was happy with the response.
She said the entire process entailed nearly 25 versions of the new flag and involved the guidance of the committee. She said the past four months have been very important in coming to a final design.
“The green represents the trees and mountains here in Cowichan. The blue represents the Cowichan River. You can see the silhouette of city hall in front of Mount Prevost,” said Jackson.
The five salmon are designed to represent the five original tribes of Cowichan: Koksilah, Somena, Quamichan,Comiaken and Clemclemaluts, according to Jackson, who explained there are now seven tribes that call the valley home.
Steven Point, B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor was on location for the unveiling of the flag, which included a performance of the city's centennial song by its composer, Cowichan Valley local, Paul Ruszel.
"Steven [Point] was his usual funny and gracious self, I'm so glad he was part of the event," said Sharon Jackson, leader of the valley's centennial committee.
Jackson said she was proud of the event turnout despite the recent weather conditions.
A helicopter flew over the downtown core following the introduction of the new flag.
"It flew over our heads really, really low," said Jackson. "Then it banked around Ingram [Street] and came up behind the tower," emphasizing on how the helicopter swooped down above City Hall.
Jackson described youngsters enthusiasm as a crew member popped out of the helicopter and waved to spectators below.
"The whole event surpassed all my expectations. The rain held off and it was an all around wonderful experience. Watching the flag be shown to the town for the first time brought a tear to my eye."