Mexico and Canada Share the U.S.A.’s Love of Big Flags

Mammoth U.S. Flag (74 ft x 132 ft) was made to celebrate Utah's Statehood in 1896

A Mammoth 45 Star U.S. Flag measuring seventy-four by one hundred and thirty-two feet was made to celebrate Utah’s Statehood in 1896.


British vexillologist (flag historian)Michael Faul wrote that the countries of North America enjoy flying gigantic flags that match the size of their national territories.

Certainly the United States has a long history of flying large flags.  The fifteen star and fifteen stripe Star Spangled Banner which flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore measured 30 by 42 feet.  In 1896 the largest flag in the world was a gigantic 45 star U.S. flag measuring 74 by 132 feet which was made to celebrate Utah’s entry into the union.  The tradition for big flags continues in the United States and Utah with huge 150 by 300 foot flags currently made by Colonial Flag Company in Sandy, Utah.  Six of these “stadium size” flags were displayed on September 11, 2011 at NFL football games to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Has the tradition of displaying gigantic flags spread from the United States to Mexico and Canada?

In Mexico City, a huge Mexican flag has flown for many years over the main plaza known as the Zócalo.  Raised daily by the Mexican army at 8 o’clock in the morning and lowered at 6 o’clock in the evening, the ceremony has become a favorite photo opportunity for tourists to the Mexican capital city.

Mexico flag - Double width means Quadrupled in its area

This shows that a flag which doubles in size measured by its width and length is quadrupled in its area. The larger flag requires four times as much material.

While sources are silent as to the flag’s size, it is likely that the display served as the inspiration for Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo’s program to erect huge national flags at historic sites around the country.  Announced in 1999, the Monumental Flag Program specified flags measuring at least 47 by 82 feet in size.  In Monterey officials raised an even larger flag measuring 94 by 164 feet.  While this is roughly double the width and length dimensions of the suggested size, the Monterey flag quadrupled the area of the flag.  A later effort at the Pedra Negras Bridge, connecting Mexico and Texas, surpassed the Monterey flag.   This huge flag, visible both in the United States and Mexico, measures a whopping 112 by 197 feet.

Canada, larger in area than either the United States or Mexico, should also share in the tradition of big flags if Michael Faul’s theory is to be proved correct.  The flag flown over Ottawa’s Parliament Building is a mere 7 ½ by 15 feet in size; however, since the Peace Tower is over 300 feet tall, a larger flag would not be practical as a heavy wind could threaten its structural integrity.

Vancouver's Rosewood Hotel proudly displayed a huge Canadian flag (120x250 ft) to celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics

Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel proudly displayed a huge Canadian flag to celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Nevertheless, the tradition of big flags is growing bigger in Canada.  Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel hung a huge Canadian flag measuring 120 by 250 feet on its exterior walls to celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics.  The flag was so large that it would not fit on one wall of the hotel, and so it was draped around the corner of the building to cover two faces of the building.

Tiger-Cats Canadian Flag

The Tiger-Cats displayed a flag claiming to be “the largest Canadian flag in the world” during their home games in 2012.

The current Canadian flag claiming to be the largest in the world was to be found last year at the Tiger-Cats stadium in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.  A team in the Canadian Football League, the Tiger-Cats displayed a huge Canadian flag measuring about 125 by 250 feet at their home games in 2012.  In 2013 they are moving to a temporary home while a larger stadium is under construction.  Will the new stadium require a larger Canadian flag or will a larger flag appear at another location?  The tradition for gigantic flags is new in Canada, so we will have to watch to find the answer.

See also big flags display in the United Kindom.

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