Will Canada’s genuine Maple Leaf in “C” please stand up?


By Dian Hasan | March 10, 2010

One could argue that in the world of logos and corporate identity, our globalized village of a world, is shrinking in size… and in the objects and source of inspiration. This could probably explain why there is an increase of look-alike logos and corporate identites.

Conversely, the argument could also extend to the fact that the internet has enabled visuals of all kinds to become available to the eyes of internet browsers across the globe. Thus, the entire human race.

In my recent posts on the subject of similar logos, concerning New Zealand, the US and Canada, involving the cities of AucklandKelowna, aTV Station and a US Real Estate company. Now it’s back to Canada again, on the back of the just-concluded 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

The logo for the Canadian Olympic team’s uniform from the Hudson Bay Company, was considered to look too much like the Tories, Canada’s Conservative Party, and… to a degree, the Royal Canadian Air Force.

A mere coincidence? You decide! The following is the original story in full, as appeared in Financial Post (by David Akin, October 1, 2009), The Globe & Mail Blog (by Stephen Chase, October 1, 2009):

Tory colours?

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Prime Minister Stephen Harper should feel pretty swell today.

A symbol featured prominently on some of Canada’s official Olympic team clothing — unveiled this morning — bears a remarkable resemblance to the Conservative Party of Canada logo.

There are subtle differences of course. But basically it’s the same big blue “C” with a red maple leaf inside it.

It’s also vaguely remniscient of the Royal Canadian Air Force logo.

Judge for yourselves:

Canadian Olympic attire fashioned by HBC

Canadian Olympic attire fashioned by HBC

Political attire fashioned by the Conservative Party of Canada

******

Update The issue arose on the floor of the House of Commons today, with Hedy Fry calling it “another embarrassing example of crass politics.”

“Canada’s Olympic Games belong to all Canadians,” the Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre said. “While it is clear that the Conservative government’s multi-million dollar infrastructure campaign is crassly partisan, can the Prime Minister at least stop trying to politicize the Canadian Winter Olympics?”

Gary Lunn, the Conservative minister of state for sport, replied that no member of the government “was involved in any way, shape or form in the design of any of the Olympic clothing.”

Noting that the first time he’d seen the logo was yesterday, he added: “The clothing was designed by the Hudson’s Bay Company in consultations with the Canadian Olympic committee and with an athletes’ panel.”

For good measure, he accused the Liberals of being un-Canadian. “Last week they were attacking Tim Hortons and this week they are attacking the Hudson’s Bay Company. Why do they not support our athletes while they are training to win gold at home and make each and every one of us very proud in every corner of our country?”

Canadian Olympic clothing logo too close to Tory logo: opposition

OTTAWA — The official logo that will adorn 2010 Olympic clothing sold by the Hudson’s Bay Company bears a too-striking resemblance to the logo of the Conservative Party of Canada, opposition politicians charged Thursday.

HBC unveiled the logo Thursday.

Approved by the Canadian Olympic Committee, it features a black stylized ‘C’ with a red maple leaf in the middle. The Conservative party’s logo is blue stylized ‘C’ with a red maple leaf in the middle.

“Canada’s Olympic Games belong to all Canadians. While it is clear that the Conservative government’s multimillion-dollar infrastructure campaign is crassly partisan, can the prime minister at least stop trying to politicize the Canadian Winter Olympics?” Liberal MP Hedy Fry asked in the House of Commons.

The clothing line with the ‘C’ logo will be worn by Team Canada athletes and officials at the 2010 Winter Games to be held in Vancouver. The Hudson’s Bay Company will sell the line of clothing at its Zellers and The Bay stores.

Gary Lunn, the minister of state for sport, said any resemblance was purely coincidental.

“I can assure you that no one in the Government of Canada was involved in any way, shape or form in the design of any of the Olympic clothing. In fact the first time I saw it was (Wednesday),” Lunn said in the House of Commons. “The clothing was designed by the Hudson’s Bay Company in consultations with the Canadian Olympic Committee and with an athletes’ panel.”

The explanation wasn’t good enough for Fry.

“I think the government should have said ‘I think that this is too similar, people may think that there is a similarity. They may think we are trying to advertise and therefore, we shouldn’t do this. Let’s find a different kind of logo,’ that is what (they) should have said,” said Fry, a Vancouver MP.

NDP MP Charlie Angus called it “cheap partisan politics” by the governing Conservatives.

“If the Conservative party had nothing to do with this, then it would be suing the Olympic team for trademark infringement. This is the Conservative party logo. Anyone can see it is the Conservative party logo. It has nothing to do in the entire history of Olympic hockey,” Angus said.

“If Minister Lunn thinks he can go into a Tim Hortons anywhere in Canada and tell an average hockey fan that this is not the Conservative party logo, then Mr. Lunn thinks the Canadians are stupider.”

Speaking to reporters outside the House of Commons, Lunn said he spoke to the CEOof the Canadian Olympic Committee Wednesday about the issue.

“There’s no question there’s some similarities,” Lunn said. “Iasked him that and he said you know, that would never have crossed our mind. Of course, they’re not involved in the political world and he said the first that he even acknowledged that was when they read it in the press (Thursday).”

Canadian Olympic Committee spokeswoman Isabelle Hodge said no government officials were involved with the logo’s design.

“None whatsoever,” said Hodge. “There’s absolutely no connection whatsoever, with the logo we unveiled (Thursday) and any political logo.”

Inspiration: The Financial Post and The Globe & Mail Blog

About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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2 Responses to Will Canada’s genuine Maple Leaf in “C” please stand up?

  1. Pingback: Which logo makes the hotter fashion statement: Sports or Politics? « IDEAS INSPIRING INNOVATION

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