Canada’s Flag Turns 50

Canada’s Flag Turns 50

Quebec City (Quebec) 15 February 2015 – The essential and unmistakable icon of Canadian identity, the Canadian flag turns 50 today.

Known alternatively as the Maple Leaf and the Unifolié, the Canadian flag was officially adopted by a statute of Parliament on February 15th, 1965 by the government of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.  It took a special, non-partisan committee of Parliament two years to sift through the dozens of proposed motifs for a distinctly new Canadian flag to replace the old Red Ensign used at the time.

The Red Ensign itself had only been adopted some twenty years prior, as part of post-war nation-building efforts, in 1945.  Prior to that, Canada officially had no flag of its own.

Although the exact layout has changed, the fundamental aspects of the Canadian flag are symbols as old as Canada itself.  Stylised maple leaves have been ubiquitous symbols of the Canadian colonies since before Confederation, find their way into the Canadian coat of arms and into almost every branch of government affairs.  The colour red has also been a staple of Canadian symbolism, harkening back to the British colonial period.  Unsuprisingly, red maple leaves were present in every potential Canadian flag before 1965.

The Canadian Flag was however only given its own holiday in 1996, when Flag Day was officially recognised by parliament.

Categories: Politics

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