An entertaining aspect of travel in Canada is figuring out the flags. Flags fly everywhere -- they Acadia, Canada, New Brunswick are pictured on car license plates and in car windows, on clothing and souvenirs and menus, and you can find a variety of flagpoles wherever you go. The national flag is serious and spare: a red maple leaf on a white background. Our first stop in Canada was in Quebec, whose flag is blue and white with fleurs de lys.
Like most people, we don't ordinarily notice flags, so we had been in New Brunswick a couple of Power pole flag days before we became aware of a new design: blue, white and red broad vertical stripes, with a gold star on the blue stripe. What was peculiar was the way these were displayed: occasionally in the traditional way, a cloth flag on a flagpole, but often painted on items near the house, most often a Sign flag telephone pole. Was this the New Brunswick flag?
When we drove up to Caraquet on the Acadian Peninsula we were suddenly surrounded by this flag, and we realized that it sometimes flew next to the official Provincial flag, a more ornate yellow-orange and red banner with a heraldic lion and a sailing ship.
Quebec is a French-speaking province, but many non-Canadians do not realize that New Brunswick, Fan flag Quebec's sister province, is officially bilingual; it seems to us to be almost more French than Quebec. The Acadians form a passionate, vocal, political minority in both provinces. They feel connected to the Cajuns of Louisiana, and most of all to the memory of Acadia, the 17th century French colony that included what is today called Nova Scotia. Stone flag
Although Acadia was ceded to Britain by France in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, European powers seemed oblivious to the behavior of the actual residents of their colonies, and Acadia, along with parts of New Brunswick and Maine, was populated principally by French-speaking settlers who refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain. The matter came to a head during the Seven Years' War, when some 11,500 Acadians were forcefully deported to the American colonies and France, undergoing great suffering and death. "Le Grand Derangement" was given eternal remembrance by Longfellow's poem "Evangeline."
The people descended from the French colonists, wherever they now reside, still identify with the long-lost province - especially as a social and cultural entity. They preserve the same ancient Boat flag dialect of French, and form a tightly bonded community, whether in Louisiana or along the "Acadian Coast" of New Brunswick.
Over the years, some Acadians have returned to Canada, and some, who never left, have become more active in identifying themselves as Acadians. Just to make things a bit more confused, not every francophone Canadian is an Acadian, but every Acadian prefers French to English. And so that is why, when you enter a store in officially bilingual New Brunswick, you will be greeted by, "Hello bonjour."
We have assembled a small collection of viewings of the flag. By the way, the three large bars represent the French flag and the gold star is Stella Maris, the star of the sea and protector of mariners.