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Wrapped in the red and white: Brockville man spends seven years, $250k researching Canada’s flag

BRUCE DEACHMAN, Ottawa Citizen
Updated: August 24, 2018

Bob Harper wanted to paint a Canadian flag on his garage door, but there was a problem: The door’s dimensions — 15 feet by about seven feet — did not perfectly align with the flag’s 2:1 aspect ratio.

For people like us, this detail might have easily been overcome by simply stretching the whole thing a smidge, or by leaving the outer six inches on each side unpainted, or having slightly wider red bars.

But it is no understatement to say that Harper, a Brockville native, is something of a stickler for these sorts of details, and so he devised what he felt was a far more satisfactory solution. He dug down into his garage and driveway about eight inches, poured a new floor, installed an additional row of panels in his garage door, and only then did he bust out the red and white paint to create a 7.5’ x 15’ flag that, in size at least, matches the one flying over the Peace Tower.

If that seems above and beyond anyone’s definition of normal, it pales in comparison to what Harper has done to accommodate a dying man’s wish: Over the past seven years, he has spent more than 15,000 hours and nearly $250,000 to research, compile and write what he says is the most thorough and accurate account of the story of Canada’s flag, from its genesis as an idea to its first flight atop Parliament Hill, on Feb. 15, 1965.

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