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A Particular Flag

Morrison Lamothe Bakery, the largest bakery in the capital city in the 1960s, was asked by the Centennial Commission to prepare a massive 20-foot cake to be cut by Queen Elizabeth II during Canada’s centennial celebration on July 1, 1967 on Parliament Hill.

The ceremonial cake, decorated with 700 pounds of icing sugar, was 15-feet wide and needed to be lifted into place with a crane. The four-layer cake was adorned with a Canadian flag that was topped with a silver “finial.”  40,000 individual cupcakes, also covered with icing sugar, were handed out to the packed crowd that had gathered on Parliament Hill for the celebration.

“Under that blue sky — there were hundreds of balloons in the air — that crowd of young people sang ‘Happy Birthday Canada!’ like I had never heard it sung. It was a thing of the heart,” remembers Grete Hale, who had been responsible for making all of the arrangements for the massive cake. “The sense of pride,” recalls Hale, “it was just perfect!”

The National Scream (excerpt), 1980, film, 28 mins, directed by Robert Awad and David Verral, produced by the National Film Board of Canada with the participation of the Canadian Unity Information Office.

Canadian Flag, Flag Pole and Finial, Photo Graham: Iddon © Bytown Museum, 2010.

Canada's centennial celebration on Parliament Hill, The Globe and Mail online, February 20, 2010.

Dominion Wide, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II cuts the huge birthday cake […]
Library and Archives Canada, C-024559.