Whenever I’m back in Canada, I always get a warm feeling when I see the English and French signage in our airports or train stations, and the the red, white, and maple-leaf flag flapping in the wind. The sight of the flag tells me I’m home.
I’ve often asked myself: how old is the Canadian flag? Has the flag been around as long as the nation? Does Canada have a day to celebrate the flag?
Since 1996, the National Flag of Canada Day is observed annually on February 15.
One might assume the Canadian flag has been around as long as the nation took shape in confederation, created by the legislation of the “British North America Act” in 1867.
However, the current version of the Canadian flag with its 2-to-1 length-to-height ratio, a red stripe on each side, and a stylized 11-point red maple leaf on top of a white square in the centre made its first official and public appearance on 15 February 1965. As red and white had already been declared the official colours of Canada in 1921, the red stripes reflect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans which border the country at the western and eastern ends, respectively, referring directly to the Latin inscription in the Canadian Royal Coat of Arms, “A Mari Usque Ad Mari” (from sea to sea).
With roots dating back to the British empire and membership in the British Commonwealth since 1931, there was criticism and controversy about eliminating the “Union Jack”, as the (Canadian) Red Ensign had been in common use for decades. The new design was based on the flag for the Royal Military College in Kingston, and drew in representative elements of the young nation.
Three people figure prominently in the Canadian national flag:
… The national flag of Canada, then, came into being, credit to those eminent Canadians: the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson, who wanted a distinctive national flag as a vehicle to promote national unity; John Matheson, who established the conceptual framework for a suitable flag, then sought out and combined the appropriate components to create it; and Dr. George Stanley, who provided the seminal concept – the central concepts of red-white-red stripes with a central maple leaf – in this process.
The “red, white, and maple leaf” flag is now recognized around the world as a definitive symbol for Canada. The National Flag of Canada celebrates its 51st birthday in 2016.
Red, White, & Maple Leaf in Vancouver
Here are a few places in Vancouver where the Canadian flag stands tall …
More: Canada at Noon, Canada Day
• If you’re in the downtown or central business district of Vancouver, 12 noon is marked every day by the first four notes of the Canadian national anthem, booming out from the Heritage Horns on top of Canada Place.
The picture of the Canadian flag at the very top was obtained after a Google search for Creative Commons images. I made the photo of Brockton Point on 7 January 2011, the photo of the Beach-Davie-Denman triangle on 5 January 2012, the photo of City Hall on 13 February 2012, and the remaining photos on 10 February 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-326.