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

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
More than 200 new COVID-19 cases linked to Fraser Health region: Dr. Henry

Provincial health officer appeals to people to keep gatherings small

/ Kevin Mills Photo
BC NDP leader tours through downtown Mission

John Horgan talked to local business owners, accompanied by candidates Pam Alexis and Bob D’Eith

Mia Gill, with cousin Gavin Nahal, presents a cheque of just over $1,400 for the pediatrics unit at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Submitted photo)
Teen presents birthday cash to Abbotsford Regional Hospital for 8th year

Mia Gill has been donating to pediatrics unit every year since 2013

Jodie Fedun said her brother Jarrett Whitford hasn’t been heard from since early September, and his bank card was last used in Hope. (Submitted/Facebook photo)
Police spot missing Alberta man on video, in Hope

Family have not heard from Jarrett Whitford, 31, since early September

The Vancouver Canucks and Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen have agreed to a two-year deal with an average annual salary of $2.55 million. (@Canucks Twitter photo)
Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen, Vancouver Canucks agree to two-year deal

Two sides avoid arbitration, Virtanen will receive average annual salary of $2.55 million

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien gives instructions during practice in Brossard, Que., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Julien energized by Canadiens’ busy off-season: ‘I expect us to make the playoffs’

Julien energized by Canadiens’ busy off-season: ‘I expect us to make the playoffs’

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read