Canadian Flag Tag on Luggage

Aug 26th, 2005, 02:49 PM
Posts: n/a
Gurgs may be right that people should be happy for where they come from, but I feel this is just an issue of common sense. Everyone knows that Americans don't currently have the best reputation around the world, and while stereotyping based on one's government or generalizing based on only a handful of "ugly" Americans may be repugnant, it does nevertheless happen. If Canadians, Americans or whomever want to avoid what may be annoyances about being perceived as an Americans, and feel that they could do so by putting on a maple leaf flag, then by all means, they should do so. The example of McDonalds in France only displays ignorance and lack on class on behalf of the French kids, but isn't it better to feel as comfortable as you can on vacation?
Aug 26th, 2005, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 196
I do wear a maple leaf pin and have Canadian flag baggage tags on my luggage. I could use a ribbon or paint, so obviously I've chosen to display my flag. Partly it is that we have a flag. I'm old enough to remember when we flew the Union Jack. I remember the debates, the competitions and the legislation in the '60's. Having a Canadian flag is still a big deal to me. So, I'm pleased that we have our own flag. That's one reason.
It's still more than that. I'm not British, not American (the two countries I'm most likely to be assumed to be from); I'm Canadian. When I travel on big group tours or cruises, I'm always in the minority. In May, I was the only non American in the group! The quick reference ("Oh, you're Canadian!) from Americans often provides a conversation starter. I like being able to talk to Americans, British, Australians about my country. I'm glad when someone notices the pin or tag. Makes for good conversations with anyone who wants to talk about Canada with me. I'm ashamed that I can't speak the languages as Europeans do, but at least a few will speak English to me when they see the pin. They want to know about Canada. I like to talk about Canada. It's that easy. And that's the second reason I wear the Canadian flag.

everittp is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 07:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9
I really think the one major reason Canadians love to put the flag on their luggage is because we haven't had our own flag for that long. It's a matter of pride that we have a flag that people recognize as truly Canadian. And Canadians do fly their flag outside their doors,windows,boats,cars all over the place. In my town,there is a house that has a flag painted the full size on their garage!!!. People might want to emphasize that they are Canadian because we are mistaken for Americans so often and believe it not we are different. Not better,not worse just different!!!
shelll is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 09:52 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 8
Americans never question why other Americans plaster our poor shopworn flag over everything, including some of the most monstrous gas guzzeling machines ever deviesd. When I was an American in Paris I had a Canadian friend who didn't speak a word of France, whereas I am (or was!) fluent. When they learned he was Canadian, they gushed...and he would ask me to translate. This was 1977! I can only imagine what it must be like now. I hope dear Tyler Schmidt has learned a few words of French since then, but I know the world has not learned to love Americans as much as they think they should be loved. And so, as soon as I can get some of those Maple Leaf tags, I'm going to put them on my bags. Beats being taken for an American in 2005, and I know Tyler would forgive me.
Cyberglen is offline  
Aug 28th, 2005, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 33
As an American-born citizen who has lived in Canada for nearly 10 years, I always find this topic frustrating, if not somewhat amusing.

My Canadian friends always remark how "the Americans" fly their flag everywhere and put their flag on everything, and then I hear from Americans (though not as often -- probably because they don't think about Canada as much, though I know that's a whole 'nother issue!) about how Canadians put their flag on their backpack and luggage.

My opinion? If it's not your flag, you notice it more. If you're Canadian and you go to the U.S., you notice the U.S. flag everywhere 'cause you're not used to it. If you're Amerian and you come to Canada, you notice the Canadian flag everywhere 'cause you're not used to it.

Basically, I think Canadians AND Americans should feel free to fly their flag whenever they want to, without anyone criticizing or second-guessing their motives.

As for which flag I put on my backpack? Easy. None. But that's my personal preference, and I'm not about to second-guess anyone else's.
xandohead09 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2005, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 166
Wow considering the volatile nature of this post everyone has remained quite politically correct! I'll change that!

For sure the reason Canadians wear Canadian Kak is definitely to distinguish the fact we are not Americans, Moreover Canadians have the added bonus of being considered harmless peacemakers like the swiss. This is a plus when travelling.

I'll tell you a funny story, when I travel in France I always speak English, despite my mother tongue being French, Many Montrealers are inpercievably bilingual (IE you cant tell whether we are English or French).

Invariably I am mistaken for an American in the hotel, and get to overhear some rude Ass making negative comments about me in French!

Once I was in an elevator and the BellBoy commented on how much luggage my wife had packed and how over the top all American women are. My wife had a good laugh, especially as she took great pleasure in correcting his French.

I'll say he was a deep ruby red when that conversation was over!!!!
oneillchris is offline  
Aug 28th, 2005, 07:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 9
I used to travel with a maple leaf on all my luggage - in the 70's and 80's - now I make it a point not to.

Our families are in Europe so most of our travelling is there. I took offense at the constant high handed, snobbish anti American attitudes. A few general conversations taught me quite quickly that Canadians - previously liked for their friendliness- are now more often liked because they are not AMerican. (Esp. by the younger set). They don't really care that we are Canadian at all. In fact, being Canadian has become almost irrelevant internationally. News coverage of Canada in the European countries that we have visited or have relatives and friends in - is nil.

Also, what used to be a distinction by country is slowly turning into a distinction of North American or native English speaking in general.

I agree with one of the previous posts who said something to the effect that because of the distances - travel for North Americans and Australians is a bigger adventure and meeting/sharing is easier when others know where we are from. If I were still a student - I might do it for those reasons. (I imagine many a good party starts with 'hey I'm from Canada too!).

AT this point in my life, travel isn't about where I'm from - it's about where I am. Luckily, people generally like me w/o knowing where I come from. I don't want them to like me for my nationality or because of who I'm not.

Dimara is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 10:28 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 4,412
I replied to the OP back in 2003, so perhaps it's time for an update.

Judging from many of the replies, I was unfortunately correct in stating that many Canadians wear maple leaf insignia for fear of being taken for Americans. They define themselves as being non-American, which I think is a sign of immature nationalism.

Now I broke my rule of not wearing maple leaf pins and such on my most recent trip to Europe. A friend and I accompanied a couple of World War 2 veterans to the Netherlands this past May for the commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of VE Day. We wore maple leaf pins along with Dutch flags, and were proud to do so. It was an experience of a lifetime to see some 2,000 Canadian veterans parade through the streets of Apeldoorn lined with what was estimated as up to 400,000 Dutch citizens of all ages who wished to pay tribute to the liberators of their country.

I really must take exception to chrisoneill's remark that Canadians are regarded as "harmless peacemakers". Tell that to the Dutch, who tend the graves of thousands of Canadians who died in the liberation of their country, or to my friends in Normandy who are well aware of the sacrifies made by Canadians to free them from Nazi tyranny. Or tell that to any of the Canadian soldiers now in Kandahar in Afghanistan.

I'm more appalled at Americans who try to disguise their nationality by wearing Canadian insignia. Americans have much to be proud of--it's no disgrace to show it.

laverendrye is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 387
I am the OP for this thread (had to register again when I forgot my password).

The reason I originally started putting a Canadian flag on my luggage was when I hitchhiked around Europe in 1970 along with the other hundreds of hippies from all over the world. I wanted my fellow travellers in the hostels to know where I was from as a kind of ice breaker. It was when I got to Holland that I first realized the high regard felt for Canadians. On more than one occasion a car would stop to offer us a ride even though we didn't have our thumb out. A women and young daughter picked us up, brought to their home for lunch and then took us out to watch the harvesting of the tulip bulbs. They then fed us dinner and gave us a room over the barn for the night. Seldom would we have to buy a second beer once the locals saw the flag on our knapsacks. We listened to many a story of how the Canadians saved them from cruelty and starvation. I learned more about my countries' involvement in WWII from these thankful Dutch citizens then I was ever taught at school. I was suddenly and for the first time as an adult, proud to be Canadian, proud that my father fought in that war and proud of my new flag (it was only adopted in February 1965).

Since then I have had a Canadian flag on my luggage. In some 35 years of travel, to over 30 countries, I find it still serves as a fine ice-breaker.

With the number of people travelling today with the same type of luggage it also has the practical purpose of making it easier to find mine.
DaveJJ is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
This is the most interesting post. I've seen Canadian flags on luggage and assumed it was just because the people were proud to be Canadian. Now I find out it's because they don't want to be mistaken for Americans (US).

So the most interesting thing about this is that all this time I also thought all those US flags on luggage were done out of patriotism. Now I know the real reason. Using the same logic, I now realize they are all there to show they aren't Canadians. Who would have guessed?
Patrick is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 07:16 PM
Posts: n/a
Patrick, your logic is crazy but I don't think you were interested in a meaningful discussion were you?
Aug 30th, 2005, 08:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Patrick - LOL !!!!

And right on!!
Borealis is offline  
Sep 1st, 2005, 06:34 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 5,150
I used to have a flag tag address tag on my suitcase (because I needed one and it was free) but it recently got crunched to death on a carousel and now I'll probably replace it with a plain one. I don't wear a flag pin when I travel but if anyone asks, of course I say I'm Canadian because I am one, not because I don't want to be mistaken for an American. If I chose to wear a pin, it would be for that reason as well.

But I've lived and travelled extensively in the US and have to say that Americans are the most overtly patriotic people I've ever met. Enormous flags are everywhere and regular-sized flags hang in front of people's homes and businesses all year round. They have such pride in their country! The only time I ever see flags in front of Canadian houses is on Canada Day and then it's usually the tiny one they give out at events. It's not that we're not patriotic, it's just that we do it differently.

It's also interesting to me that Americans put so much informatiion about themselves on their cars. We're in the southern US a lot and just driving behind someone on the highway, I might know which political party and candidate he supports, whether he's for or against the war in Iraq, if his kid is an honour student and at which high school, if he's a Christian, if he has a son or daughter in the armed services, where he vacations, and what his job and/or hobby is, along with a variety of 'ribbons' supporting various causes. This is something I never see at home.

None of my many American friends or relatives try to pass as Canadians when they're travelling. They're proud to be Americans and so far none of them has had any problems abroad that I'm aware of.

If you behave well (ie not boorish and loud) when you travel, no one will even concern themselves with your nationality. If you're American and you choose to discuss political issues when you travel, you'd best be prepared to deal with dissenting views. Personally, if I were an American, I'd probably put a US flag tag on my luggage just for the hell of it.
hdm is offline  
Sep 1st, 2005, 05:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 511
We don't travel with the Maple Leaf plastered on our belongings and absolutely do rely on our behaviour as a touchstone for distinguishing us from any stereotypical ugly tourist (regardless of nationality!).

However, one of the earlierposts struck a chord with me because it reminded me of a thought I had while driving into work last week. I live in the country and drive past many, many driveways on my way down country roads. I've always noticed how few Canadians fly the Canadian flag relative to a same area in any place in the US that we have travelled. However, I think that 9/11 substantively changed that. Many, many of our neighbours and friends started to fly the American Stars and Stripes after 9/11 to show support/sympathy for all the victims of the horror. I think that, at some point, it started to become apparent that we were displaying far more American flags than our own - which somehow didn't seem quite right either. Consequently, many many folks who had never overtly displayed this symbol of patriotism before (who needed to? we were home where everyone knew who we were!) ran up the Maple Leaf as well. That actually looked and felt pretty darn good! So - it has continued. I see so many more Canadian flags on properties now on my drive to work that it's very very noticeable!

Thoughts from other Canadians?
saharabee is offline  
Sep 1st, 2005, 06:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
Dan, what's wrong with my logic?
If people assume Canadians use Canadian flags to prove they're not American, isn't it LOGICAL to assume that US travelers put US flags on their luggage to prove they're not Canadian?

What's so illogical about my reasoning?

The only lack of logic I see is the assumption that if someone puts a flag on his luggage it ISN'T because he's proud of his country. It would be much more LOGICAL to assume that he uses it to show who he IS, not who he ISN'T.
Patrick is offline  
Sep 1st, 2005, 06:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 615
Now that, Patrick is axactly why I proclaim my Canadianism. I really, honestly, truly - never thought of it as showing who I wasn't. In fact, until this post occured it never occured to me that i might - even sublimily (sp?), be doing that. But after a total introspection I can honestly say that I advertise my being Canadian to show who I am, not who I'm not.
GaryA is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2005, 05:45 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 55
I'm American and I first heard the "rumor" that Canadians wore their flag on their back packs so they weren't mistaken as Americans during my first experience traveling to Europe (as a young college student --10 years ago). I remember my friends and I thought it was funny b/c the impression we got was that the Canadians were afraid to stand up to the "mean" Europeans who were trashing us (their close/good neighbors). But then we thought if the Canadians are afraid of the Europeans (mainly the French) then maybe we should really be scared of the French b/c of all the anti-American stuff we had heard. Then my friend suggested that we put the Canadian flag on our back packs when we were in France b/c she was nervous that everyone was going to mistreat us. We were young, totally clueless and scared of an entire country of people we hadn't even met. We didn't do it, but in hindsight I can't believe we actually considered it. When we got to France everyone treated us exceptionally well and many people were surprised that we were American. Same in Italy. People were telling us that we didn't fit the stereo-type. This is a great example of how encouraging a stereo-type can have a chilling effect on many people including, younger adults and first time travelers. I may not agree with the politics of some coutries, but I will always defend the goodness of the people who live there. Especially against those who have never traveled out side of the US.

Elisachristina is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2005, 06:21 AM
Posts: n/a
Patrick, you are comparing Apples with Carrots. First, you must look at the situation. Arguably, America doesn't really have the greatest reputation in Europe right now; this isn't a problem for Canada. I don't believe that many, if any, Canadians affix American flags to their luggage, whereas some, if not many, Americans do affix Canadian flags to their luggage, specifically to not be identified as Americans. And besides, Canada is so irrelevant to so many Americans, I doubt they bother to think about this country when they plan a trip to Europe.
Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:14 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 5,150
OK, Patrick, you're just having a little fun with us, right? Because even you can't be so egotistical as to think that people around the world are flying and carrying their nation's flag just so they won't be mistaken for Americans. Yes, yes, we know the world revolves on an axis that runs right through the US but still some of us actually are happy and proud to live where we do. Amazing, isn't it?
hdm is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:16 AM
Posts: n/a
Well put hdm!

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:30 PM.