Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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.
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
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Civic Space
Architect / Designer
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