There are only a few components, that when combined, make the flag that represents our amazing province. I was very lucky to meet the man who designed the Saskatchewan flag. In 1968, Anthony Drake was a high school teacher in Hodgeville and he ended up submitting a total of thirteen different flag designs to the contest asking for submissions. The province received nearly 4,000 designs, but eventually chose one of Anthony’s designs – the one that we all know today.
The winning decision was made over a year after the contest closed and Anthony had completely forgotten about entering. In fact, Anthony and his wife were in the process of moving back to England to start their family and they didn’t see the flag being raised for the very first time. Fast forward forty-seven years to a weekend in May 2016 where, at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon, I was able to spend some time with Anthony, his wife Joan and his son David.
During his short visit to Saskatchewan, Anthony said he’s enjoyed teaching those he meets about the significance and meaning of the flag’s design. He explained to me how he used pieces of coloured paper to create his design - yellow for the wheat fields and green for northern forests. The flower, the western red lily, is our provincial flower and the shield of arms was officially made Saskatchewan’s first emblem in 1906.
I had a great time visiting with Anthony, and we talked about many different aspects of both our lives. From our chat, I learned that although Anthony ultimately returned to England, the time he spent in Saskatchewan left its mark: he takes pride in seeing his design atop Saskatchewan flag poles, and like all Saskatchewanians - he’s humble to his core.