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John Guy Flag Site Municipal Heritage Structure

Cupids, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/04/03

View looking west, John Guy Flag Site.  Date unknown.; Cupids Historical Society Inc. 2008
John Guy Flag Site, Cupids
Photo of the brass commemorative plaque located on the John Guy Flag Site public area. Photo taken 2005.; Deborah O'Rielly/ HFNL 2008
Brass Commemorative Plaque
Historic image of the original John Guy flagstaff. The present day flag and pole are located on the same site. Photo taken circa 1910.; Town of Cupids 2008
John Guy Flag Site, Cupids

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/11/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The John Guy Flag Site Municipal Heritage Structure is located off the main road and at the water’s edge, within the town of Cupids, Newfoundland and Labrador. It is comprised of a 26 metre flagstaff with a very large Union Jack flag, and sometimes flies a very large Canadian flag. The heritage designation is confined to the small, paved area set back from the road which is used exclusively for the flag pole and flags, and which contains a brass commemorative plaque and outdoor, public seating.

Heritage Value

The John Guy Flag Site has been designated by the Town of Cupids for its historic and cultural values.

The John Guy Flag Site is historically valuable for its age. The site was first built in 1910 with a 41 metre steel flagstaff to fly the Union Jack flag on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Cupids . The original flag, sized 7 metres by 11 metres, is on display in the community museum. The site was restored by the Cupids Historical Society in 1983 for the Sir Humphrey Gilbert 400th anniversary. Today it houses a 26 metre pole made of southern yellow pine from Alabama, reaching 22 metres above ground. The pole flies a giant Union Jack flag which measures 7 metres by 14 metres; at the time it was presented it was one of the largest Union Jacks in the British Empire. On special occasions a giant Canada flag is also flown. A brass commemorative plaque was erected on the site in 1985 to celebrate Cupids’ 375th anniversary as the first official English settlement.

The John Guy Flag Site is also historically valuable for its associations with John Guy, a 16th-century Bristol merchant. Cupids was the first English colony settled in Canada in 1610, and the second in North America, following Jamestown in Virginia, USA (1607). The colony was led by newly appointed Governor John Guy, who brought approximately 39 settlers and supplies to start a British colony in the new world. They were instructed to fortify the settlement at Cupids (then known as Cuper's Cove) in Conception Bay, experiment with farming, cut spars and planks, make salt, potash and glass, collect samples of ore and, significantly, to fish and trade in cured fish and train oil (from whale blubber). The John Guy Flag Site commemorates this historical achievement by flying the Union Jack as a salute to Britain and John Guy.

The John Guy Flag Site is culturally valuable because it is a reminder to the residents and visitors of Cupids that the community was first settled by Europeans 400 years ago and that it is the ancestor of later settlements. The flag, which when flying can be seen from most vantages in the town, is a visual clue of this historic place and its watershed beginning.

Source: Town of Cupids Council Meeting Motion 031-2007 April 3, 2007.

Character-Defining Elements

All those features of the civic space that commemorate the watershed settlement of the town, including:
- 26 metre flagstaff constructed of southern yellow pine;
- giant Union Jack flag which flies from the flagstaff; and
- brass commemorative plaque erected in 1985.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Civic Space


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, PO Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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