Our Good Canadian Swastikas

on 7:47 pm

When we think of the swastika symbol, we thing hate mongering Nazism. If you go to wikipedia and punch in 'swastika', however, you'll soon find out that the swastika has actually been around for over 12,000 years and actually has other meanings that completely oppose hate mongering. To give you an example, the swastika remains widely used in Indian religions, especially in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, primarily as a sacred symbol of good luck. Puch it up on the net if you want to learn more.

Ok so at this point you might be asking yourself, what is a blog calling itself Canadians in Portugal doing writing about the swastika? The answer's easy. The swastika is also part of Canadian culture, history and geography.

Swastika, Ontario. ... Ever heard of it? A mining town founded in 1908, today Swastika sits within the municipal boundaries of Kirkland Lake, Ont. Interesting to note, during World War II the province of Ontario sought to change the town's name to Winston in honour of Winston Churchill, but residence refused, insisting that the town had held the name long before the Nazis co-opted the swastika symbol.


So geographically, the swastika sees its presence in the form of a town. Culturally, however, the swastika found itself ingrained in Canada's sporting past time - hockey. Did you know that Canada possessed 3 teams all of them calling themselves the Swastikas and, unsurprisingly, all existed before the Second World War? Let me tell you a bit about them.

The first Swastikas team played out of the town of Windsor, Nova Scotia, ironically also known as the birthplace of hockey. The Windsor Swastikas existed from 1905 to 1916 as a touring hockey club playing up and down the east coast of Canada. The picture below are the 1912 Swastikas.


As the Atlantic coast Swastikas were coming to an end in 1916, across Canada in Edmonton, Alberta, a ladies hockey team came together calling themselves ... yes, you guessed it, the Swastikas. Little is know about the ladies Swastikas out of Edmonton. Their games were limited to the city of Edmonton with the exception of Winter Carnivals in places like Calgary and Banff. The harsh Prairie winters were certainly not permissive of long road trips for any team in those days. These are the 1916 ladies of the Edmonton Swastikas:


Half-a-dozen years after the coming together of the Edmonton Swastikas, just a little further west, another lady Swastikas team was coming together in the town of Fernie out in Kootney region of British Columbia. The lady Swastikas from Fernie would go on to have plenty of success in the 4 years they were together winning the 1922 Calgary Winter Carnival, beating the hometown Calgary Regents in the final; the 1923 Banff Winter Cup, beating the Vancouver Amazons to again become champions; and in 1926, where runners-up at the Banff Winter Carnival losing to the Edmonton Monarchs in the last game they would play. The Fernie Swastikas below.


And so there you have it, Canada's relation with the Swastika. An international movement calling themselves Reclaiming the Swastika makes reference to Canada's past relations with the symbol as a strategy to reclaim the swastika. Surely no matter how much they try, any guy you see with a swastika tattoo on his body, who among us will not be thinking: neo-Nazi hater. It's sad but it's true.

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