Anthony Drake, a former Hodgeville school teacher who designed the provincial flag of Saskatchewan over 50 years ago, passed away on Wednesday at his home in England at the age of 81.
Drake and his wife, Joan, moved from England to Hodgeville and taught at the school there from 1967 to 1969. It was in 1969 that Drake submitted a design for a contest to determine Saskatchewan’s new provincial flag, with his design being selected out of over 4000 entries.
"The first thing that struck me was the appearance of the province. That's an essential part of the flag. Looking at the general nature of the province, I saw that in the north there were a lot of trees and grass and the south was all crops growing, wheat and other things. That always seemed to look like a creamy yellow colour. So, the green and yellow I thought would be the idea. I put those on, and then I thought well it couldn't be just green and yellow."
"I thought the shield would be another perfect thing to put in the top left-hand corner. Then I thought about the bottom right-hand corner and about certain possibilities like maybe the famous Saskatchewan bird, or tree, or whatever. I looked and discovered that a certain flower was the provincial flower in the sense that it was theirs. I got a picture of that and was quite surprised and amazed (at) how superb it looked."
Drake won a $1000 cash prize for his winning entry, which is over $7600 when adjusted for inflation.
The flag was officially adopted on September 22, 1969, but Drake had actually left Saskatchewan and returned to England by that time, and therefore never saw his flag fly in the province until 2016 when he was invited back to Hodgeville by Gail Hapanowicz, who learned about Drake’s story while converting the community’s former high school into an inn. Hapanowicz also established the Home of the Saskatchewan Flag Foundation which celebrates Drake’s winning design and his connection to Hodgeville.
Drake returned to Saskatchewan for what would be the final time in 2019 for a VIP tour of the province to mark the 50th anniversary of the adoption of his flag.