Toronto like other cities in Canada has its own flag. In 1974 the City of Toronto decided on the need for a flag to represent itself within the province and within the country. This was also to be used for marking its members on federal and provincial councils.
A City of Toronto Flag Design Committee was appointed in August of 1974 to come up with the design for a Toronto Flag. There were five members on this team. These members consisted of Reid Scott Q.C. Alderman, together with Alderman Paul B. Pickett Q.C as co-chairs. Alderman Edward Negridge, Colin Vaughan and Anne Johnstone were the members. This team was to determine a suitable design to represent Toronto in the form of a flag.
A competition was launched to the public and submissions were requested as to a design and explanation of how and why such design would encompass the City of Toronto and capture meaning in the form of a flag.
This flag would be 3’x6′ and would of course be hung at various destinations as deemed appropriate as well as of course participate in ‘flag-raising’ ceremonies.
A design submitted by a George Brown College student Renato De Santis received the most votes from City Council and on November 6, 1974. Renato was only 21 at the time of his design acceptance and his design allowed Toronto to be officially represented by it’s own flag!
Two blocks of blue color represented the Twin Towers of the Toronto City hall, while a red maple leaf in the center at the bottom of the flag depicted the Council Chambers location at the base of the two towers. The maple leaf as a symbol was taken directly from the Canadian flag and naturally represented Canada.
Similar to other cities experiencing rapid economic and population growth in a fairly short period of time, Toronto became surrounded by boroughs that developed in pockets surrounded what was to be known at Metro or the city centre.
Soon each borough developed its own branch offices representing all areas of public service. Each borough had its own Mayor, school boards, public works etc. This became extremely de-centralized, costly and inefficient due to the duplication in offices, staff, and lack of communications.
By 1997 a need for centralization was established and the six boroughs joined together with Metro to become amalgamated into one large city known as Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Need for a new flag? With 1997 also came a bid for a new flag design. Over 1000 submissions were submitted and declined by City Council.
Renato De Santis suggested he submit his original with some modifications to encompass the story of the amalgamation. This again was the winning submission. By October 1999 Toronto had a new flag approved and waving over the city.