Legion launches contest to create territorial motto

Almost 50 years since it launched a contest to design the Yukon's territorial flag, the Whitehorse Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is now looking for the perfect motto.

Almost 50 years since it launched a contest to design the Yukon’s territorial flag, the Whitehorse Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is now looking for the perfect motto.

The contest, announced last week, encourages Yukoners past and present to come up with a phrase that reflects the beliefs and spirit of the territory.

It’s part of the legion’s plan to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary next year, said legion vice-president Red Grossinger.

“We’re looking for a motto that is identifiable with the Yukon, descriptive and reflective of what the territory is like,” he said.

“It also has to be original, meaningful and inspirational.”

The contest is open for the entire month of February. Grossinger hopes the winning motto can be presented to the Yukon government during its upcoming spring session of the legislative assembly.

After that, it’ll have to be sent to Ottawa – in English and in Latin – for final approval, he added.

Participants need to remember the search is for a motto, and not a slogan, Grossinger said.

Slogans are usually simpler and catchier than mottos. They’re normally used by companies to help attract loyal customers or by religious organizations to attract members.

Yukon Tourism’s slogan, for example, is “Come to my Yukon – we’ll light the way.”

Mottos, on the other hand, reflect a belief or ideal and help to motivate people.

British Columbia’s motto, Splendor Sine Occasu, means “splendor without diminishment,” and refers to the idea of the sun never setting over the British Empire.

“Hopefully people will understand that,” Grossinger said. “If the judges see a slogan they’ll dismiss it right away.”

A panel of “prominent Yukon citizens” will judge the entries, which will be identified only by number.

That’s to ensure there is no bias, Grossinger explained.

Back in 1967, the Whitehorse legion held a contest to design the territorial flag as the country was marking its centennial anniversary.

Yukon College student Lynn Lambert submitted the winning design and the flag was officially adopted on March 1, 1968.

The Yukon and the Northwest Territories are the only Canadian jurisdictions without mottos.

Submissions for the Yukon’s new motto can be made at www.yukonlegionbr254.info and participants can enter as many times as they wish.

Contact Myles Dolphin at


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