In a letter to the Windsor Star’s editor on July 11, John Dignan offers a number of reasons why the so-called big flag, which is not even that big but will cost thousands of dollars to grace the city’s riverfront, is a bad idea.
He has only hit on a few of this archaic misadventure in misdirected civic boosterism. It is simply a narcissistic one-upmanship stunt to show Toronto who is boss.
Dignan remembers back in 2005 when the art gallery put a sign on the riverfront telling visitors they had, “… left the American sector.”
It was a good idea, nicely symbolic, and appealing to 21st century sensitivities. It might even have made a few Facebook posts. Rightly, Dignan called it a cultural snipe at American jingoism that the city’s council, never known to do anything original, ordered removed.
Its members should do the same with the less than grand flag and get busy doing something to support their town.
Windsor is facing an extreme tourism challenge. Once the Windsor bypass opens, known to some as the Gordie Howe Bridge, Americans will forget about inching their way along traffic congested Huron Church. They will speedily traverse Highway 401 straight outta town.
Those who have driven its northerly expansion know that little of the city is exposed or seen by those using it.
Already, and perhaps prematurely, the province has abandoned the city by closing down its tourist information shack on Huron Church. Visitors now get their brochures and maps in Tilbury, which is good for Tilbury, but not so good for Windsor.
Putting up a big flapping flag smacks of a city with an alleged inferiority complex trying to show itself as an equal, or better than, the country’s most revered and largest community.
Toronto approved the nation’s tallest flag pole for a new civic square at Finch Avenue West and Highway 400 six years ago. The Toronto Star, on August 26, 2010, expected, “… tourists and schoolchildren will flock to see a Canadian flag as big as a football field.”
As is usual, Windsor’s planned flag will be much smaller and lamer, which questions why it should even be done. As the saying goes, “go big or go home.”
Windsor should stop this nonsense of a flag that gets droopy on non-windy days and is little more than a scaled down version of Toronto’s ambitious plan. Instead Council should copy something Toronto did really well during the Pan Am Games.
The city erected its name, in large illuminated letters, at Nathan Phillips Square. It was an instant hit, making Torontonians proud; quite proud, actually. Windsor could use the same shot in the arm and have its name in big expressive letters on its riverfront.
At least when Americans, who lately can be found flocking to their side of the Detroit River, see the sign they will know Windsor is a bridge or tunnel ride away. If they don’t know, a minor flag of lesser proportions than that envisioned for Toronto, will not help.
At least they can Google Windsor. You can’t currently google a flying flag.