The Maple Tree

Trees have played a meaningful role in the historical development of Canada and continue to be of commercial, environmental and aesthetic importance to all Canadians. Maples contribute valuable wood products, sustain the maple sugar industry and help to beautify the landscape. Maple wood, which varies in hardness, toughness and other properties, is in demand for flooring, furniture, interior woodwork, veneer, small woodenware, and supports several flourishing industries in eastern Canada. Maple is also highly prized in furniture building and cabinet-making.

Since 1965, the maple leaf has been the centrepiece of the National Flag of Canada and the maple tree bears the leaves that have become the most prominent Canadian symbol, nationally and internationally. Maple leaf pins and badges are proudly worn by Canadians abroad, and are recognized around the world.

Although the maple leaf is closely associated with Canada, the maple tree was never officially recognized as Canada's arboreal emblem until 1996.

Many Canadians in the forest sector have long requested that the Government select the maple tree as Canada's arboreal emblem. They now enjoy the use of the maple tree as an official symbol when promoting Canada as a world leader in sustainable forest management.

It is the generic maple species that is being proclaimed as Canada's arboreal emblem. Of the 150 known species of maple (genus Acer), only 13 are native to North America. Ten of these grow in Canada: Sugar, Black, Silver, bigleaf, Red, Mountain, Striped, Douglas, Vine and the Manitoba. With the exception of four species, native maples are large trees. At least one of the ten species grows naturally in every province.

All provinces have established arboreal emblems and this emblem is an important element within the family of national symbols.

The maple tree was officially proclaimed national arboreal emblem of Canada on April 25, 1996. It was published in the Canada Gazette on May 15, 1996.