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The National Flag of Canada also known as the Maple Leaf flag celebrates its 50th birthday February 15th 2015. On this day 50 years ago in Parliament and many communities across Canada, the Red Ensign was lowered and the new Maple Leaf was put in its place. It took many years to get to this point with many discussions in Parliament and with Canadians across the country, to decide on the particulars of the new flag.  A committee was struck in 1925 to start researching the possibility of a national flag however this did not lead to any clear-cut decisions.  In 1946 another committee accepted designs from across the country but again nothing came from this project.

It wasn’t until 1964 when Lester B. Pearson was Prime Minister that the ball started rolling again on this topic.  With the Centennial of Canada fast approaching, the Prime Minister thought it was a good time to develop a national flag of Canada. This topic was not without controversy, with many people including members of the Legion opposing the idea of a new flag.  Veterans had fought under the Red Ensign and it was a symbol that they and others held dear.

The maple leaf emblem and the colours red and white were not new to Canadians.  The maple leaf was considered a Canadian emblem in the 1830s in Quebec as well as in the 1860s in the coats of arms for Quebec and Ontario.  The colours red and white were designated by King George V in 1921, in the proclamation of the Royal Arms of Canada — Canada’s coat of arms. Out of all of the designs that were submitted the committee chose the Maple Leaf.  It was approved in the House of Commons on December 15 1964, the Senate on December 17 1964, and proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, to take effect on February 15, 1965.

Below are flags and items from the Museum Strathroy-Caradoc’s collection, including representations of the Union Jack, the Red Ensign and the Maple Leaf.

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For more information visit the Government of Canada Canadian Heritage website

In honour of Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital’s 100 year anniversary, February’s Artifact of the Month is the original wheelchair from the Hospital.
Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital was born from the generosity and passion of local citizens who wanted excellent healthcare for their loved ones, close to home. Since the initial endowment from sisters Alicia Fulton Inch and Jane Fulton Dyer in 1908 and 1909 respectively, our local hospital has continued to receive generous support from the community.

The original hospital was located in a converted home, once known as the Manson House.  This building was located across the street from the present day hospital.
The “Inaugural Day” was held on Monday Feb. 9th 1914 when the public was invited to attend and inspect the building. It was stated that 500 townspeople turned out to tour the building. Later that week, on Feb. 14th the hospital was fully operational and had 7 patients.
The furnishings, nearly all of which were donated was published in The Age however, a wheelchair was one item that was still in need at the time. This particular wheelchair, with wood varnish and bamboo woven back, seat and leg rests, was the first wheelchair used at the Strathroy Hospital.

wheelchair

The original wheelchair from SMGH

Today wheelchairs are made to fold up, some include motors and some are even designed so that when confined to a wheelchair one can still play sports such as tennis, rugby and basketball.
The wheelchair has been around for centuries. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, wheelchairs had a much more basic purpose and a simpler design. Wire-spoke wheels, adjustable seat backs and moveable arm and foot rests were introduced to increase comfort. Wicker was the material of choice in the early 1900s as it produced a more lightweight chair then earlier iron models.
Another new feature were push rims, which allowed the person in the wheelchair to propel and steer themselves. This was combined with the handles which still allowed it to be pushed easily from behind.
For balance, a smaller third wheel was added beneath the wheelchair to prevent the chair from toppling backwards.
Our local hospital is a vital part of the social and economic growth of Strathroy-Caradoc.
Information from Museum Strathroy-Caradoc exhibit “Legacy of Care”

Last Saturday was the 94th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.  This First World War battle was fought between April 9 and 12, 1917, in the west of France, with 3,598 Canadian soldiers killed and 10,602 wounded.  This year’s anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge is the end of an era, with no surviving WWI veterans in Canada.  Vimy marked the first time all four Canadian divisions fought on the same battlefield.  They were led by Strathroy-native Sir Arthur William Currie, who was the first Canadian-appointed commander of the Canadian Corps.  For the month of April there will be a display on Vimy associated with the Currie items on loan from the Canadian War Museum.

 

All this month we will honour 5 Strathroy area soldiers who lost their life at Vimy; John Brown, Charles Perring,  James Kellestine, Asa John Patterson, and Cyril Lowe.

About the Museum

Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened to the public in 1972. As a community museum we strive to preserve and tell the story of Strathroy-Caradoc, and inspire residents to explore and understand the community around them.

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