Monday, June 13, 2011

New Flags for Alberta and Manitoba

Today marks the end of my Canadian posts, unless of course I can think of something better or Canada gets some new provinces (I'm looking forward to the Turks and Caicos provincial flag).  Sadly, I did not save Alberta and Manitoba for last because they were the best, rather the opposite.  Both flags follow formula used by a number of provinces, one using the Union Jack in the upper hoist and the shield, the other just a shield.  In my struggle to improve these flags, I had difficulty finding appropriate symbols.  In the end, I'm not sure if I succeeded, but we'll leave that for comments.


Very similar to Ontario's flag, the only difference being the lower half of the shield.  There isn't much to say in favor of this flag, beyond the fact that I like the red field.  Like Saskatchewan, Manitoba is one of the prairie provinces; rectangular, flat, and a huge farming area.  I took none of that into consideration (though the flag is rectangular, does that count?).  The resulting idea reminds me more of Greenland than anything else, but that may just be the color scheme:

For the first time in this series, I've allowed a reference to England/the UK to remain on a flag, mostly because it looked a little boring with just the bison.  You may recognize that bison, as he has been lovingly stolen from the flag of Wyoming (they lost the privilege when they took their awesome flag and stuck a seal in the middle of it).  Though the bison is not the most simple of shapes, it has clean lines and isn't too detailed.  Plus, the bison is a symbol of the province, as seen on the original flag's shield.  I think this flag provides a nice contrast between the Old World and New, using the symbol of their former colonial masters alongside a native animal and using only two colors.

I'll admit at the beginning of talking about Alberta, that I was ready to phone this in.  I had saved it for last because I had no good ideas, but I wanted to finish Canada so I could move on to US states again, or Australia or something.  When you see my suggestions, you may still think I wasn't really trying, but you should see the garbage I had been planning to post.  Now that I've raised your expectations, on to the flag:

Blue background, a shield in the middle, it's almost as if Alberta wants to be a state in the US.  The scenery in the shield is nice, I suppose, depicting how Alberta contains plains, hills, and mountains, but couldn't that be any place with a varied terrain?  My initial ideas have been thrown out and not long ago I considered making this my "official" suggestion:

I don't think there would be much argument that this is better than the original, but it still isn't great.  The flowers are stylized depictions of the prairie rose, the provincial flower, which I took from the Franco-Albertan flag.  It's different, it would be recognisable, and it would stand out among Canadian flags, but then I had a better idea.  In several previous posts, I've confessed my love for flags which incorporate maps, despite the problems they can cause, not the least the issue of design.  I think this flag provides a great opportunity to include a stylized map of the province:

The oddly-shaped chunk taken from the lower right corner is meant to make the blue field into the shape of the province.  Like several other Canadian provinces, Alberta has a lot of right angles, but the way it narrows at the base sets it apart.  I left one flower to give it a splash of color.  I tinkered with making the white space a color (and it is meant to be a white area, not an oddly shaped flag like Ohio or Nepal), including red to offset the flower and black to represent the oil wealth of the province, but they just didn't look right.  One could argue that the position of the flower roughly corresponds to the location of the oil sands, but that may be a bit of a stretch.

With that I'll conclude my series on the provinces of Canada.  There have been a lot of interesting comments on these and in the near future I plan to put together a post where I create the flags that have been suggested.  However, for the next few weeks I think I'll return to the USA.  And If I had a catchphrase, I'd put it here.

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