Cowichan clan proud of official Parliament Hill souvenir

Lorrie Jonat, co-owner of Jim
Lorrie Jonat, co-owner of Jim's pools and spas is ready to celebrate Canada Day.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

Canada Day carries particular pride for the Jonat family.

While many Cowichanians wear Canadian flag pins, or wave small red-and-white Maple Leafs, the local family displays a giant Canadian flag that once crowned the West Block on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill.

Lorrie Jonat and husband Wes have proudly hung their giant flag in downtown Duncan’s Jim’s Pools & Spas, a business they recently bought.

Their flag last flew atop Parliament on July 11, 2013, just four days before it was mailed by then-public works and government services minister Rona Ambrose (now health minister).

But Lorrie Jonat admitted to forgetting all about registering in 2002 in Ottawa’s program that sends authentic flags to folks who sign for a tour of our Parliament Buildings.

“We were on a family vacation across Canada, toured the Parliament Buildings, and had a great time,” she said.

“You sign your name in a guest book and indicate if you want the flag that’s flown from the top of the Parliament Buildings.

“Ten years later in came in the mail; I had no idea what it was,” she said of the brown bubble-pack envelope.

“I was shocked at how big it was. I’m so proud of it.”

Proud enough she had her letter from Ambrose signed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his visit to Brentwood College School last year.

Jonat signed Parliament’s register again in 2006, aiming to land a second Maple Leaf.

“I hope to have one for each of my identical-twin daughters,” she said of Tembi and Karis, 14, who are Grade 9 students at Duncan Christian School.

While Jonat was delightfully shocked to receive the huge ensign, she was likewise surprised to learn the Canadian flag was designed by Duncan’s own Sir Conrad Swan during a term under prime minister Lester B. Pearson.

“I had no idea,” she said.


Canada Day in Cowichan

Downtown Duncan: On the CUPE stage in Charles Hoey Park, Duncan. Live music from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Chemainus: Free family fun. pony rides, petting zoo, crafts, face painting, bouncy castle, cake and ice cream in Waterwheel Park. Music by Oh Ogopogo and Bopoma Marimba.  Music with Providencia at 6 p.m.

B.C. Forest Discovery Centre: Marching bands, dancers, short speeches, and cake for everyone. While supplies last free mini flags, pins, tattoos, bookmarks. Listen as our very own train engineer, Carolyn, leads us in the singing of O Canada. Free shuttle service from the Rona parking lot in Cowichan Commons.

Maple Bay: Meet for the parade at 9:30 a.m. at the Herd Road dog park. Tennis, cyclathon, games, races and fun.

Shawnigan Lake: Pancake Breakfast at the Royal Canadian Legion, Malahat Branch #134, Shawnigan Lake, 9 to 11 a.m.

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