News Local

Showing off Canadian pride in a big way

Lauren MacGill

Dave Goertzen has been flying his 30 by 15 foot Canada flag for five years now.

Dave Goertzen has been flying his 30 by 15 foot Canada flag for five years now.

WINKLER - 

Dave Goertzen has been to around 38 different countries in the world, but at the end of the day, he still says Canada is the best country there is.

That’s why he’s flying a 30 foot by 15 foot Canada flag in his front yard.

“I just like to celebrate Canada Day and people often do it by putting up flags, like the 2 metre long flags,” he said. “Little flags on their lawns, you see cars with flags flying out of the side windows.”

Goertzen said he has a lifelong love of flags. He taught at Garden Valley Collegiate from 1996 to 2006, and his classroom was always decorated with flags of the world. “I started collecting flags from different countries and I had about 150 flags in my classroom hanging from the ceiling,” he said. “Kids would like to know the names of them, and for bonus projects I’d let them do the background on why that particular flag was chosen for that country.”

Whenever Goertzen would see the giant flags being flown by places like Husky or Smitty’s, he would always wonder how he could get his hands on one. “I knew they were frightfully expensive,” he said. “Like $1,000 or $2,000 and I could never afford something like that.”

Goertzen noticed that sometimes the edges of those giant flags would fray, and it got him wondering what they did with the flags once they could no longer fly. “The rule is you’re not supposed to fly a defaced or damaged flag,” he said. “They said they often fix them. [But] when it’s too far gone to fix but still a good flag, what do they do with it? Do they burn it, send it away to recycling?”

Goertzen said he kept asking at Smitty’s and Husky stations about the flags, and finally after a number of years, one finally had a flag that had about 18 inches frayed off the edge. Goertzen had the flag fixed and hung it up.

Being Canadian is an important thing to Goertzen. “I love Canada,” he said. “I’m a Canadian citizen and I know Canada has embraced immigrants from many different cultures. I’ve been to many countries and I’ve lived in about eight of them for a period of years, and I just love Canada.”

“I love to travel and I love other cultures and other people, but I love Canada,” he added. “When I hear O Canada I want to sing along and when I see a Canadian flag I’m proud. So on Canada Day if I have a big flag like this, I want to fly it. It’s not like I’m more proud than the neighbour who has the smaller flag, but I happen to have a big flag and I want to fly it.”

Goertzen said there are many great things about living here. “It means a lot to me to be in Canada,” he said. “This is the best country on earth for me. I love it, I love what it stands for. It could use fixing, it’s not perfect, but there’s so many things about Canada, like acceptance of various cultures and people and beliefs and I like it.”