Flashback Friday: The Upside Down Canadian Flag at the 1992 World Series

O Canada. Our home and native land. And apparently the home of the upside down maple leaf?

Depending on who you talk to, it was either a great sign of disrespect or a simple mistake. Regardless of your stance, it still stands as one of the most memorable moments of the 1992 World Series, and it had nothing to do with anything that happened during the game.

For this Flashback Friday, we take a look back at the upside down Canadian flag from the 1992 World Series.


The date was October 18, 1992, and the series remained in Atlanta going into Game 2 against the Braves. Atlanta took the opener 3-1 on the back of a complete game four-hitter by Tom Glavine.

Spirits weren’t exactly flying high for the Blue Jays entering Game 2 at Turner Field, and their home flag wasn’t flying properly either. Due to a bit of miscommunication, the Canadian flag was flown upside down.

During the singing of the national anthems, the U.S. Marine Corps flew both the U.S. and Canadian Flags, but due to a gaffe by the flag holder, the Canadian maple leaf was upside down.

To add insult to injury, Canadian singer Tom Cochrane stumbled through signing the Canadian national anthem as he messed up a few lines. All in all, not a good night for Canada.

The explanation of the upside down flag was that the Marine Corps only had the standard issue American and Marine Corps flags prepared to fly, and that the Canadian flag was provided by stadium officials mere moments before the marines were to go on the field.

Interestingly enough, an upside down flag is an international sign of distress, but it didn’t seem to affect the Blue Jays as they won Game 2 of the World Series 5-4.

Image courtesy of Toronto Star Archives (hat tip to @Minor_Leaguer)

As the series turned to Toronto, vendors took to the streets selling t-shirts with upside down American flags.

In fact, it seemed as though it was an international concern as George Bush had to do a bit of damage control. He assured Canadians that the United States would never do anything to hurt the national Flag of Canada.

Bush Sr. issued two official apologies, and as a sign of goodwill, a New York Marine unit paraded a Canadian flag into the Skydome as the Royal Mounted Canadian Police carried in the American Flag.


Just to make sure that the Canadian flag was flow right side up for Game 3 of the World Series, baseball deputy commissioner Steve Greenberg received a fax of the Canadian flag with the word “TOP” across the top of the page.

It may have been an honest mistake, but the upside down Canadian flag is one thing I’ll always remember about the Blue Jays playing in Atlanta. That and winning a World Series.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

8 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The Upside Down Canadian Flag at the 1992 World Series

  • June 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Oh I remember that moment so clearly. I was 16, and convinced that the Armericans did it on puprose, just to show up us Canadians. (Now years later I realize that is ridiculous…I think).
    I wanted so bad for us to fly their flag upside down at the next game at SkyDome in retaliation. However, when the time came, and they marched the flags out properly, I was more proud of them for taking the high road and not taking a cheap shot back at the Americans.

    To a young impressionable Canadian baseball fan, I learned a lot from that moment.
    And of course, winning the world series helps to soften the percieved insult!

    • June 9, 2012 at 4:52 am

      And I believe it was Anne Murray who sang the Canadian National Anthem at Game 3 – I can't think of anybody better to do it!

  • June 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Actually looking closely at the picture now, protocol would have been broken even if the Canadian flag was flown right side up. You can see that the American flag has a gold fringe on it–that is called a "dress flag." International protocols generally state that the Marines should have flown the Canadian dress flag as well, and if they did not have one, they should have flown the un-fringed American flag.

    • June 9, 2012 at 4:52 am

      Good eye! I had no idea what was the protocol with flags. So I guess they really did get the Canadian flag from the stadium officials last minute!

    • October 18, 2019 at 8:29 am

      The Marine Corp flag has the fringe…not the
      American flag. Ugh!

  • Pingback: Atlanta's flag insult shows how Canada forgives, inspires - SaportaReport

  • April 3, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t understand how it can be called a “world” series if there aren’t teams from all across… the WORLD.. say, from Eurasia, Africa, Antarctica, the Pacific arena, Australia etc. or at least one or two from central or south America…
    Shouldn’t it be called the “North American Series?”

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