(Courtesy FlickrCC/Tony Webster)I've always been moved the way Canadians have incorporated our beautiful flag into cultural events. Of course, I'm biased. How could I not be? But even when I try to be objective, I'm still convinced our flag, that splash of red Maple Leaf on the stark clean white background is an attention-grabber. It also lends itself to artful depictions in paintings, wall-art, summertime light shows (as witnessed last July on Parliament Hill; see above), and even on celebratory cakes! Many Canadians are pulling out all the stops as our national flag turns 50 this month. It still surprises many people that our red-and -white maple leaf flag was raised for the very first time on Parliament Hill just 50 years ago on February 15, 1965. Cities and towns across Canada are hosting various events to honour the anniversary of our flag, and many of them coincide with Family Day weekend (February 15 and 16), which is a statutory holiday in some provinces. And why is our flag so important? To quote the official statement: "Our national flag speaks to what we have accomplished together, to the historical moments that have served to define us, and to the promising future of this great country." Here are ten across-Canada highlights from the Flag of Canada Day Calendar of Events: 1. Quebec City, Plains of Abraham, Feb. 15. Hockey Canada's Century Tour, which celebrates 100 years of Hockey Canada, hosts a Flag Day event during the Québec Winter Carnival. Bring your family and friends to the caravan on the Plains of Abraham. Organizers have arranged a photo booth in which visitors can take their picture with the Canadian flag as a backdrop. 2. Prince George, British Columbia - Feb. 15 Activities at the Canada Games Plaza include an outdoor selfie station where visitors are invited to have their photograph taken with the aim of creating a Canadian flag mosaic. 808 Canada Games Way 3. Toronto, CN Tower - Feb. 13 to 15 Head on down to one of the tallest structures in Canada to have your selfie taken. On the evening of Feb 15, the CN Tower will be lit in the colours of the national flag. 4. Gatineau, Quebec, Museum of History February 6 to July 5 The museum curators have produced an incredible exhibit with rarely-seen artifacts and memorabilia related to the Canadian flag. Must-see: the first known depiction of the flag as it exists today. Also, visitors can view flags that were proposed but weren't chosen!
This is just one of the numerous designs that was proposed, more than 50 years ago, as the National Flag of Canada, but obviously wasn't chosen. Courtesy: Museum of Civilization.5. Winnipeg, Manitoba at the Canadian Human Rights Museum - Feb. 15 There will be the heart-stopping raising-of-the-flag ceremony followed by hot chocolate (it's winter in Winnipeg, after all) and other indoor activities. 6.Victoria, British Columbia - Feb. 15 The public is invited to Government House for the outdoor ceremonial flag raising along with army, air and sea cadets. Indoor programming and refreshments follow. 7. Regina, Saskatchewan - Feb. 13 The "Celebrate the Flag!" exhibition includes an interactive touch table where visitors of all ages can create their own flag, and then record their own Canadian moment in the video booth. 8. Fredericton, New Brunswick - Feb. 15 to March 31 A special flag exhibit at Government House is a dual 50th anniversary celebration of both the Canadian and New Brunswick flags. 9. Ottawa, Confederation Park - Feb. 15. There are lots of activities in Ottawa in honour of the flag's 50th anniversary: outdoor events, ceremonial flag raising, unveiling of a collector's commemorative stamp and coin, a citizenship reaffirmation – and what's a party without cake! 10. Vancouver, British Columbia - Feb. 12, (morning) Guest speakers Senator Nancy Greene and John Furlong at this breakfast event reflect on the 50th anniversary of the flag and the 5th anniversary of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Vancouver Convention Centre West. For complete details and times of Flag Day celebrations, visit the Flag of Canada Day Calendar of Events. Oh, and if you're hosting your own flag celebration, you can always serve our delicious Tested Til Perfect O Canada Cupcakes.