As I watched festivities unfold, via television, from Parliament Hill I was swept up in the patriotism which seems to overtake the country – if only on this day or after the occasional hockey game.
I recall a connection, although I can’t be certain of the genealogy, between my maternal grandmother and one of our national heroes directly involved in our flag’s creation, The Honourable John Ross Matheson, former Member of Parliament for Leeds, and Provincial Court Judge (Ret.) for the County of Lanark. What I would not give to feed on my grandmother’s stories again. Only as a history buff and former journalist do I now reach back and savour the moments when “Gammy” would sit on her front verandah in the cooling summer evening air and tell me how I was related to the judge we watched coming and going from the court house across the street, a distinct limp and the use of two canes the outward signs of his World War Two service. (Last I heard he still lived in Rideau Ferry, outside of Perth.)
I did not fully appreciate the significance of Judge Matheson’s place in history while I sat beside my grandmother – a retired school teacher – as a child in the late 1960s and early 70s.
The CBC Archives effectively bring the debate back to life.