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Hamilton, Ontario (Canada)

Last modified: 2023-10-21 by rob raeside
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[pre-amalgamation flag of Hamilton Ontario] image by Jarig Bakker

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Prior to 1974,Wentworth County administered the area (to my knowledge; I've never lived in a "County"!); in 1974, the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth was formed, with the 'member' communities (City of Stoney Creek, City of Hamilton, Town of Ancaster, Town of Dundas, Township of Flamborough, Township of Glanbrook) taking care of municipal matters with the Region taking care of wider, regional matters.

In 2001, the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth fell victim to the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris policy of "downloading" and amalgamating, whereby to cut government costs, the Provincial government 'downloaded' formerly Provincial responsibilities to regions and municipalities. As an example, the former "Queen's Highways" #5 and #2 were provincial responsibilities, whereas now they are called "Halton Region Highway #5 (Dundas Street)", and "Halton Region Highway #2 (Lakeshore Boulevard)". Amalgamation was where the regions were merged into 1 "supercity". Besides Hamilton-Wentworth, Toronto, Sudbury, Kingston and Ottawa-Carleton were also amalgamated between 1998 and 2002.
Georges G. Kovari 18 March 2005

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.


The flag of the City of Hamilton is a Canadian pale design of golden yellow-blue-golden yellow. In the centre is a cinquefoil (a five-pointed heraldic flower with wavy petals), surrounded by a circular chain of twelve rectangular links with rounded corners, alternating large and small, all in golden yellow. The diameter of the circular chain is nearly the full height of the flag.
John M. Purcell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Blue and gold have long been the city’s colours. The cinquefoil is the badge of the Clan Hamilton, representing the city’s name. The links of the chain are a heraldic symbol of unity and also symbolize steel, a major element in the city’s identity—Hamilton is known as the Steel Capital of Canada. The six larger links represent the six municipalities that joined to form the current City of Hamilton: the former City of Hamilton, the City of Stoney Creek, the Towns of Ancaster, Dundas, and Flamborough, and the Township of Glanbrook. The colours and central elements come from the shield of the city’s arms, designed with the assistance of the Canadian Heraldic Authority in Ottawa, and approved by the city council in January 2001.
John M. Purcell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Presented at a city council meeting on 11 December 2002 by Bishop Spence and Dr. Greaves, and adopted unanimously by council. The flag was included in a grant from the Canadian Heraldic Authority on 15 July 2003.
John M. Purcell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Bishop D. Ralph Spence (named Albion Herald Extraordinary by the Canadian Heraldic Authority in 2006) designed the flag using elements from the arms designed by Dr. Kevin W. Greaves.
John M. Purcell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

More about the flag

The flag was designed to be complementary in design when flown with the national flag, but distinctive to represent the city.
John M. Purcell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

On 27 February 2009, Kevin Werner reports Stoney Creek News that "Hamilton flag makes councillor 'puke'":

Do you know what Hamilton’s flag looks like? Stoney Creek councillor David Mitchell asked that question recently to a few city employees, and discovered they didn’t know. His experience proved his point that Hamilton should replace its eight- year-old flag.

(The flag) makes me puke,” said Mr. Mitchell, as he expressed a ribald opinion about the flag during a governance committee meeting to a number of his colleagues.

Nobody knows it is Hamilton’s flag,” he said, showing the flag to staff, politicians and a couple of people sitting in the gallery. “It’s pathetic looking."

He said the golden yellow circle of chains surrounding the Cinquefoil on a blue background looks more like a “communist” symbol and makes no impression on people compared to other flags.


The blue and yellow golden flag, which was approved by council in 2001, along with its a new coat of arms and triple H city symbol, was created by Bishop Ralph Spence, a leading specialist in the science of flags.


Mr. Mitchell, who was a member of the post-amalgamation council, voted along with other politicians for the flag, and the new coat of arms in the aftermath of amalgamation. The triple H symbol was created by a local marketing company.


He said instead of the current flag, the city’s triple H, dark blue symbol should be incorporated into a new flag. The three H’s, which represent the city’s bridges – including the High Level Bridge -and symbolizes unity and partnership, is a “beautiful” sign not what we have now, he said.

The six pillars symbolize the city’s six former municipalities. Other councillors, while laughing at Mr. Mitchell’s demonstration, reluctantly agreed with his opinion about the flag.


Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead said he is disappointed there is no “green” on the flag to symbolize the city’s Niagara Escarpment or environment.

Members of the governance committee, a subcommittee of the audit and administration standing committee asked that city staff review replacing the current flag and how much it would cost."

Ivan Sache, 27 February 2009

Pre-Amalgamation Flag

[pre-amalgamation flag of Hamilton Ontario] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

The city describes the former flag:

The flag of Hamilton is composed of a white field with the red maple leaf of the National Canadian flag in the upper right fly. Commencing in the canton, a green horizontal bar proceeds lengthwise, then bends at an angle of approximately 45 degrees and proceeds diagonally to the lower fly, then becomes horizontal and proceeds lengthwise in green with white block letters proclaiming “HAMILTON” occupying one-quarter of the green bar which changes to ultramarine blue to the end of the fly. The upper horizontal bar represents the Hamilton Mountain, the diagonal bar represents the escarpment, the lower horizontal green bar represents the lower city and the ultramarine blue portion of the bar represents the Harbour. Adjacent to the hoist, the shield of the Corporation Seal of the City of Hamilton is located. In the upper third of the shield is a black, red and white steamer, fully rigged on a blue background representing commerce. In the middle third, a brown beaver [Castor canadensis, the national animal] on a white background representing prudence. In the lower third, a golden yellow beehive with bees on a blue background representing industry. The final design for the City of Hamilton flag, designed by Stewart Roxborough, was chosen and adopted by Hamilton City Council on 29 October 1985.
The shield shown on this flag was altered to this form in July 1963 to be somewhat more heraldically correct, but the basic elements derive from the city seal designed by Edward Acraman and adopted by the city council on 20 January 1847.
John M. Purcell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Branded flag, 2002

[flag of Hamilton 2002] image located by Valentin Poposki, 19 December 2021

From the Report of the Corporate Secretariat: Communications and Corporate Effectiveness Divisions to the Mayor and Members Committee of the Whole July 18, 2002. City of Hamilton Flag and Badge (CSE02022).

In November of 2001, Council approved $600,000 for the Branding and Corporate Identity Project to be financed from reserves as part of the Transition Costs/Funding Report. Subsequently, in May of 2002, Council approved the award of this contract to Jan Kelley Marketing to provide their services as a strategic communications firm in the development and delivery of an integrated Branding and Corporate Identity campaign. The logo design and research to identify the preferred logo (residents, businesses and employees) is part of that funding. Subsequently, the design of a new flag and badge came out of that work with the incorporation of the logo into both the flag and the badge. Additional funding was not required to create the design.

This flag used between 2002 and 2007.

Valentin Poposki, 19 December 2021

Police flags

[flag of Hamilton Police] image by David Kerkhof, 20 February 2020

The flag of the Hamilton Police Service is divided diagonally from the upper fly to the lower hoist. The upper portion of the flag is blue and the lower is red. The two are separated by a diagonal, wide gold band. Over all in the center is the Police Service's coat of arms. There's a good write-up on the Service's Wikipedia entry explaining the significance of the colors and the design of the coat of arms (
Randy Young
, 16 March 2015

The official heraldry is recorded at
Dave Fowler, 16 March 2015

Police flag 1964-1974

[flag of Hamilton Police] image by David Kerkhof, 6 September 2021

This flag was actually used beyond 1974 for a number of years but was a pre regionalisation flag. Coat of Arms was designed and approved by the College of Arms in London.
David Kerkhof, 6 September 2021

John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport

[flag of Hamilton Airport] image located by Dave Fowler, 20 December 2021