Official symbols of Canada
- The Coat of Arms
- Our Motto
- The National Flag of Canada
- Our Official Colours
- The Maple Tree
- The National Anthem
- The Beaver
- The National Horse of Canada
- Our National Sports
The following symbols have been adopted by the Government of Canada over the past century and are now considered official symbols of Canada.
The Coat of Arms
The design of the arms of Canada reflects the royal symbols of the United Kingdom and France (the three lions of England, the lion of Scotland, the fleurs-de-lis of France and the Irish harp of Tara). On the bottom portion of the shield is a sprig of three Canadian maple leaves representative of Canadians of all origins. The coat of arms is supported by the lion of England holding the Royal Union Flag and the unicorn of Scotland carrying the flag of Royal France. The crest above the shield features a crowned lion holding a red maple leaf. At the base of the arms are the floral emblems associated with the Canadian Monarchy: the English rose, the Scottish thistle, the French lily and the Irish shamrock.
The Royal Crown at the top indicates that these are the Arms of the Sovereign in right of Canada, commonly called "the Royal Arms of Canada" or "the Arms of Canada".
A MARI USQUE AD MARE (From sea to sea) - Psalm 72:8
The National Flag of Canada
The adoption of the national flag of Canada was the culmination of many years of discussion, thousands of designs and a heated debate in Parliament. The search for a new Canadian flag began in 1925 when a Committee of the Privy Council began to investigate potential designs. In 1946, a parliamentary committee examined more than 2,600 submissions but could not reach agreement on a new design. As the centennial of Confederation approached, Parliament increased its efforts to choose a new flag. On February 15, 1965, the national flag of Canada was raised for the first time over Parliament Hill.
Our Official Colours
The history of the official colours of Canada goes all the way back to the first crusade in the 11th century. Bohémond I, a Norman lord, had red crosses cut from cloaks and distributed to 10,000 crusaders. The crusaders wore the crosses on their clothes as a distinguishing mark, since they had no uniform to indicate their identity
In succeeding crusades, each nation was identified by a cross of a different colour. For a long time, France used a red cross on its banners, while England carried a white cross. In the course of history, red and white alternated as the national colours of France and England.
Red and white became Canada's official colours as a result of the proclamation of the arms of Canada by King George V in 1921.
The Maple Tree
Many Canadians in the forestry sector had 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.
The National Anthem
"O Canada" was proclaimed Canada's national anthem on July 1, 1980, 100 years after it was first sung in Québec City on June 24, 1880. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallée, a well-known composer born in Verchères, Quebec. French lyrics to accompany the music were written by Adolphe-Basile Routhier, born in St-Placide, Quebec. Many English versions have appeared over the years. The version on which the official English lyrics are based was written in 1908 by Robert Stanley Weir, born in Hamilton, Ontario.
The National Horse of Canada
Our National Sports
By an Act assented to on May 12, 1994, the Parliament of Canada declared ice hockey as the national winter sport and lacrosse as the national summer sport of Canada.
Maple Leaf Tartan
The colours of the maple leaf through the changing seasons became the basis for the tartan designed by David Weiser in 1964. Known officially as the Maple Leaf Tartan, the pattern incorporates the green of the leaves' summer foliage, the gold which appears in early autumn, the red which appears with the coming of the first frost, and the brown tones of the fallen leaves. The Maple Leaf Tartan was made an official symbol of Canada by ministerial declaration on March 9, 2011.