In a Wednesday afternoon tweet, artist Roy Henry Vickers claimed the district of Tofino had used his design for its municipal flag without his permission. (Twitter)

Municipal flag ranking project sparks controversy in Tofino

Artist Roy Henry Vickers claims he never gave district permission to use the image.

A CBC reporter’s quest to rank B.C.’s municipal flags sparked a West Coast controversy this week as the artist behind the image on Tofino’s flag claimed he’d never given Tofino permission to use it.

Justin McElroy ranked Tofino’s flag at 38 out of the 130 flags on his list, explaining that the flag “screams Tofino,” and has a “very nice postcard design,” but lost marks for having ‘Tofino B.C.’ printed on it as well as the artist’s signature.

A potentially larger problem than that signature’s impact on the flag’s ranking arose when the artist it belongs to, Roy Henry Vickers, saw the flag and claimed he had never given Tofino permission to use his design.

Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne was quick to respond, Tweeting that the district was looking into the allegation.

She later followed up, suggesting Tofino had discovered documentation that shows the district received permission to use the image and that “our records indicate the artist was paid.”

The two sides had seemingly reached a resolution Thursday afternoon as Vickers, who owns a gallery in Tofino, Tweeted he was reviewing a contract with the district.

The flag does not seem to appear anywhere on the District of Tofino’s website and is not believed to be flying anywhere in town. McElroy found the design on the Flags of the World website.

Osborne told the Westerly News late Thursday afternoon that she had not spoken directly with Vickers, but had reached out to him, and that she believes the issue has been resolved.

She said the district’s documents show that Tofino reached an agreement with Vickers to design Tofino’s municipal logo in 1992 and that the two parties reached another agreement to adapt the logo into a flag in 2002.

“I was surprised to see Roy Henry Vickers Tweet, but I was quite confident that we would be able to find the backup documentation and just wanted to make sure we could take care of everything and clear up any misunderstandings,” she said.

She added she is a fan of McElroy’s and had been following his flag rankings before the local controversy unfolded.

“He’s funny and irreverent and I enjoy following his writing, his Tweets and social media,” she said. “So, when he came out with the municipal flag series, I knew it was going to be a good one. I think it’s all tongue in cheek and in good humour, poking a little bit at some of the funny and odd looking flags that towns have.”

Osborne, who first joined Tofino’s council in 2013, said she was living in Tofino when the flag was unveiled in 2002, but could not recall ever seeing it in use.

“I’m not sure what the use of the municipal flag really could be. It isn’t something that’s come up ever in any conversation I’ve had with anyone. In fact, the only time I’ve ever seen municipal flags really at play is at the annual UBCM Convention where there’s a display of every single flag. But, I don’t think they have Tofino’s because we’ve never given them one,” she said. “I’m not sure that it really qualifies as a flag. There’s probably rules that it breaks, but it is beautiful.”

She added she often hears positive feedback about the logo Vickers designed for Tofino in 1992.

“When I pass out my business card, I invariably get the comment, ‘What a beautiful logo.’ That is my segue to tell people about Roy Henry Vickers and the Eagle Aerie Gallery—which most people have heard of or even visited,” she said. “I think we’re fortunate to have Roy’s iconic art as part of our municipal image.”

The Westerly News has reached out to Vickers for comment and will update this story when new information comes in.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Gran’pa grew it, says young Stephen Nahirnick as he maintains a tight grip on one of Steve Nahirnick’s Hallowe’en pumpkins. Stephen is son of Jack and Joan Nahirnick and he took the opportunity last week to enjoy splendid autumn weather while perched on grandfather’s knee while the elder Nahirnick was harvesting luxuriant and large garden.’ (Lake News/Oct. 22, 1980)
Flashback: Halloween night full of activities, crime

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Cowichan Valley riding being called for Sonia Furstenau; Nanaimo-North Cowichan for Doug Routley

It’s officially Election Day in B.C.’s 2020 provincial snap election and the… Continue reading

Tanya Kaul, the Liberal candidate for Cowichan Valley, waves with her team on election night. (Submitted photo)
Kaul energized to run again for the Liberals in 4 years

“I have a team already in place so we’ll be ready.”

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read