Canadian flag on rural Milton garage door no longer a landmark

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Published September 29, 2023 at 2:13 pm

A 50-year-old iconic garage door in the Campbellville neighbourhood of Milton is no more.

Since the early 1970s, the large Canadian flag painted on the garage door of the Opsteen family home has served as a tourist attraction and landmark.

But according to a Facebook post by John Opsteen, the son of the family who still lives in the house, the door is finally being replaced.

Opsteen wrote that the minor renovation shouldn’t be worthy of attention, but his tale has hundreds of interactions on the social media site.

“The door itself is nothing special. It’s heavy, dented, sticks, a workout to open, not insulated, no power lift and almost 70-years-old,” Opsteen wrote. “My parents are getting a new insulated door today with a power unit so they don’t have to struggle.”

The home is owned by Cornelis and Christina Opsteen, who moved their young family there in the early 1970s.

“The story of this door is a story of immigration success. My folks came over from the Netherlands for more farming opportunities and chose Canada because the Canadian soldiers were so good and caring during WWII, when dad was a kid.”

John said his parents met in Milton in the 1960s and bought a little farm on Campbellville Rd.

The idea of painting the large Canadian flag on the garage door came when they realized that, while they were proud of their Dutch heritage, they wanted to show love for their adopted country, as well.

“Dad went to work, measuring the little desk flag he got when he became a Canadian Citizen (a flag he proudly still has). He created a template out of a cardboard chicken feeder, got pots of red and white Tremclad and got painting.”

Over the half-century the flag as been used as a landmark by locals, it always looked sharp. “Every couple years dad would touch it up to make it look new.”

Opsteen said he was a bit of celebrity while growing up in the small town.

“Over the years, talking to people, everyone knew that door. Whenever I was asked, ‘Where did you grow up?’ the answer was always ‘the house with the Canadian Flag garage door on Campbellville road’ and everyone would know the place.”

Opsteen the door was locally famous and it was used in scavenger hunts, directions for finding Sixth Line and provided a reminder of the journey his parents went through.

The door, however, isn’t gone for good.

“The old door is staying on the property, we are mounting to a shed so my folks can see it from in the house.”

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