The facetious title of this article, which dates back to the 1950s and 1960s, is a metaphor for trying out an idea to see who likes it.
Most people seem to like flags, and they serve all sorts of purposes. We don’t wave them in the Yukon as much as I noticed our American neighbours to the west did during our August holiday across the border, but tourist towns tend to hang a lot of bunting for decoration, and there are special occasions and places where flags — especially ceremonial flags — are just what you’d expect to find.
Dawson’s first centre for flags was Victory Gardens, established after the World War I. Three flags — the Maple Leaf, the Yukon’s flag, and the Legion’s flag — fly there continuously.
They fly nicer now, after the Dawson firefighters arranged to have the garden leveled, weeded, spread with fresh gravel, and generally spruced up. The job included trimming dead branches off one of the two evergreens that flank the garden, along with the two German field artillery pieces.
Our newest hot spot for flags is down on Front Street, in front of the Dawson Firefighter Museum, just south of our City Hall and Fire Hall. That little park has been growing nicely for a number of years now, partially assisted by the kids’ toy fire engine that was rescued when the old kids’ park on 6th Avenue was displaced by the new hospital building.
There are also benches inside the fence and an attractive “welcome” sign outside.
The most recent additions are four flagpoles, which had their first raisings on July 7 by members of the town council and administration, as well as volunteers from the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation.
The City Hall has needed this addition for some time. There are numerous occasions during the year when Dawson’s flag is removed to make room for another one, celebrating a public event or cause.
At City Hall this meant leaning precariously out a second floor window to reach the pole that was fastened to the building. Alternatively there was the safer but clumsier method of hauling out an extending ladder. Most recently, the town has borrowed (or perhaps rented) a boom lift vehicle to do the job.
Now there are four poles right on Front Street — Canadian, Yukon, City of Dawson, and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in — visible in front of a nicely landscaped park, ready to greet folks as they come up the ramp from the George Black Ferry just down the street.
We don’t salute the flag as much Americans do, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy seeing them.