Although the practice may seem a little outdated, did you know that Vancouver Island still proudly flies its own unofficial flag with designs dating back to the mid-1800s?
Visitors of downtown’s Bastion Square may have noticed a new flag featuring a beaver fluttering overhead, and its curious local history dates back to 1865.
While the Vancouver Island colony joined the British Columbia colony in 1866, for one year the ocean-locked community was its own British colony with full rights to create its own crest and flag.
During this year of semi-independence, designs were made for a crest, which were based on the 1849 Great Seal of the Island of Vancouver and its Dependencies. The design features a trident, a caduceus, a pinecone, and a beaver perched on a small island surrounded by water.
While the crest design was approved by Queen Victoria in 1865, the flag was never created before the island joined British Columbia one year later.
The design would remain in obscurity for over 100 years until Victoria resident Michael Halleran resurrected the crest to create a historically accurate version of a full flag.
The design abides by proper British Admiralty regulations of the time, which limited flags to simply superimpose the colony’s crest on top of a traditional Blue Ensign.
Observant residents can spot the flag on many properties on the island, with one example fluttering in Bastion Square and a larger 10’ by 20’ version flying near Adam’s Storage off of Pat Bay Highway on Enterprise Crescent.