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Hamilton, Ontario (Canada)

Last modified: 2015-04-17 by rob raeside
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[pre-amalgamation flag of Hamilton Ontario] image by Jarig Bakker

See also:

Current city flag

Previous to 1974,Wentworth County administered the area (to my knowledge; I've never lived in a "County"!); in 1974, the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth was formed, with the 'member' communities (City of Stoney Creek, City of Hamilton, Town of Ancaster, Town of Dundas, Township of Flamborough, Township of Glanbrook) taking care of municipal matters with the Region taking care of wider, regional matters.

In 2001, the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth fell victim to the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris policy of "downloading" and amalgamating, whereby to cut government costs, the Provincial government 'downloaded' formerly Provincial responsibilities to regions and municipalities. As an example, the former "Queen's Highways" #5 and #2 were provincial responsibilities, whereas now they are called "Halton Region Highway #5 (Dundas Street)", and "Halton Region Highway #2 (Lakeshore Boulevard)". Amalgamation was where the regions were merged into 1 "supercity". Besides Hamilton-Wentworth, Toronto, Sudbury, Kingston and Ottawa-Carleton were also amalgamated between 1998 and 2002.
Georges G. Kovari 18 March 2005

From the Hamilton website:

Description: Bishop Ralph Spence designed the flag. Bishop Spence is Canada’s leading specialist in the Science of Flags or Vexillology. He has designed numerous flags for municipalities and governments.

The dimensions of the flag are two to one. These are the same dimensions as the National Flag of Canada. The flag is divided with a Canadian Pale in royal blue with borders of golden yellow. The flag uses two major elements taken directly from the City of Hamilton’s Grant of Arms. The golden yellow Cinquefoil is a heraldic flower of five petals that is the badge of the Clan Hamilton and represents the name of the city. The links circling the Cinquefoil, also golden yellow in colour, have two meanings - first, a circle of links is the standard heraldic symbol for unity, and second, they symbolize steel. The six larger links are symbolic of the six communities joined in unity. This flag when flown with the Canadian Flag - either stationary on a pole or flown from flagpoles outside at the same height - would be complimentary and distinctive in Canada.

Jarig Bakker, 17 March 2005


Or on a Canadian pale Azure a cinquefoil encircled by a chain as in the Arms Or

The City's flag is modeled on the national flag with the cinquefoil and chain taken from the arms.
Pascal Vagnat, 1 August 2005, citing Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada

Criticisms of the Flag

On 27 February 2009, Kevin Werner reports Stoney Creek News that "Hamilton flag makes councillor 'puke'":

Do you know what Hamilton’s flag looks like? Stoney Creek councillor David Mitchell asked that question recently to a few city employees, and discovered they didn’t know. His experience proved his point that Hamilton should replace its eight- year-old flag.

(The flag) makes me puke,” said Mr. Mitchell, as he expressed a ribald opinion about the flag during a governance committee meeting to a number of his colleagues.

Nobody knows it is Hamilton’s flag,” he said, showing the flag to staff, politicians and a couple of people sitting in the gallery. “It’s pathetic looking."

He said the golden yellow circle of chains surrounding the Cinquefoil on a blue background looks more like a “communist” symbol and makes no impression on people compared to other flags.


The blue and yellow golden flag, which was approved by council in 2001, along with its a new coat of arms and triple H city symbol, was created by Bishop Ralph Spence, a leading specialist in the science of flags.


Mr. Mitchell, who was a member of the post-amalgamation council, voted along with other politicians for the flag, and the new coat of arms in the aftermath of amalgamation. The triple H symbol was created by a local marketing company.


He said instead of the current flag, the city’s triple H, dark blue symbol should be incorporated into a new flag. The three H’s, which represent the city’s bridges – including the High Level Bridge -and symbolizes unity and partnership, is a “beautiful” sign not what we have now, he said.

The six pillars symbolize the city’s six former municipalities. Other councillors, while laughing at Mr. Mitchell’s demonstration, reluctantly agreed with his opinion about the flag.


Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead said he is disappointed there is no “green” on the flag to symbolize the city’s Niagara Escarpment or environment.

Members of the governance committee, a subcommittee of the audit and administration standing committee asked that city staff review replacing the current flag and how much it would cost."

Ivan Sache, 27 February 2009

Pre-Amalgamation Flag

[pre-amalgamation flag of Hamilton Ontario] image by Blas Delgado

The flag is composed of a white field with the red maple leaf of the National Canadian Flag in the upper right fly.

Commencing in the canton, a green horizontal bar proceeds lengthwise, then bends at an angle of approximately 45 degrees and proceeds diagonally to the lower fly, then again becomes horizontal and proceeds lengthwise in green with white block letters proclaiming "HAMILTON" occupying one-quarter of the green bar which changes to ultramarine blue to the end of the fly. The upper horizontal bar represents the Hamilton Mountain, the diagonal bar represents the escarpment, the lower horizontal green bar represents the lower City and the ultra marine blue portion of the bar represents the Harbour.

Adjacent to the hoist, the shield of the Corporation Seal of the City of Hamilton is located. In the upper third of the shield is a black, red and white steamer, fully rigged on a blue background, representing commerce. In the middle third, a brown beaver on a white background representing prudence. In the lower third, a gold beehive with bees on a blue background representing industry.

The final design for the City of Hamilton Flag was chosen and adopted by Hamilton City Council on October 29, 1985.
Phil Nelson, 27 March 1999

Police flag

[flag of Hamilton Police] image by Randy Young, 16 March 2015

The flag of the Hamilton Police Service is divided diagonally from the upper fly to the lower hoist. The upper portion of the flag is blue and the lower is red. The two are separated by a diagonal, wide gold band. Over all in the center is the Police Service's coat of arms. There's a good write-up on the Service's Wikipedia entry explaining the significance of the colors and the design of the coat of arms (
Randy Young
, 16 March 2015

The official heraldry is recorded at
Dave Fowler, 16 March 2015