After many years of flying regally on your flagpole, your Canadian flag is looking a bit tired. In fact, truth be known, it is quite tattered. When the day comes that your Maple Leaf is no longer looking its best, tradition dictates that you dispose of it by burning it privately. It is important that you treat even an old flag with dignity and respect, and even its disposal is not an exception to this stipulation.

Evaluate your Canadian flag. If it is faded, worn or threadbare, it may be time to dispose of it. Even flying a flag with a single tear or hole in it is considered disrespectful. A good rule of thumb is that, if you have to consider whether it is time to replace your flag, it probably is.

Choose an appropriate spot to burn your flag. If you are planning a brush fire to rid your yard of grass and hedge clippings or a bonfire to watch, these are appropriate times to dispose of your flag by burning. You can also burn your flag indoors in a fireplace or wood stove.

Inappropriate flag burning situations include trash burning; it is disrespectful to burn the Maple Leaf with trash or cooking fires.

Fold your Canadian flag up nicely. Be sure that it does not touch the ground or floor, if you can help it. It is not necessary to create a decorative fold, you are just folding it to make it easier to handle.

Light your fire and allow it to burn long enough that you know it has taken hold and will not spontaneously go out. It is acceptable to use accelerants -- such as lighter fluid -- that you would normally need to get the fire going, just do not apply them to the flag itself.

Place your Canadian flag over the burning fire. If necessary, adjust the logs so the fire continues to burn. It is acceptable to add logs to the fire on top of the flag, as needed. Allow the fire to burn until the flag is reduced to ash. Dispose of any remnants as you would in a typical fire.

Tip

  • Be careful if you are using accelerants with your fire.

    Consider what the fiber content of your flag is when selecting a burning location. Some man-made materials may give off unpleasant fumes when they are burned, so consider burning a flag made from synthetic fibers outside.