First "Canadian flags" - Anthems and Symbols - Canadian Identity
First "Canadian flags" - Anthems and Symbols - Canadian Identity
First "Canadian flags" - Anthems and Symbols - Canadian Identity

First "Canadian flags"

Canada's motto "A Mari usque ad Mare" (From sea to sea) is based on biblical scripture: "He shall have dominion from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth (From Sea to sea) – Psalm 72:8 ". The first official use of this motto came in 1906 when it was engraved on the head of the mace of the Legislative Assembly of the new Province of Saskatchewan. The wording of the motto came to the attention of Sir Joseph Pope, then Under Secretary of State, who was impressed with its meaning. He later proposed it as motto for the new design of the coat of arms, which was approved by Order in Council on April 21, 1921 and by Royal Proclamation on November 21, 1921.

Blue flag with three gold fleur-de-lis. Description to follow.

The fleur-de-lis was a symbol of French sovereignty in Canada from 1534, when Jacques Cartier landed and claimed the new world for France, until the early 1760s, when Canada was ceded to the United Kingdom. Although a number of French military flags were used in Canada during this period, including the white flag of la Marine royale after 1674, the fleur-de-lis held a position of some prominence.

1760's version of the British Union Jack. Description to follow.

In the early 1760s, the official British flag was the two-crossed jack or the Royal Union flag (known more commonly as the Union Jack). Although first flown in 1610, the Royal Union flag was used at all British establishments on the North American continent from Newfoundland to the Gulf of Mexico. This flag is often referred to as the flag of Canada's United Empire Loyalists

Following the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, the diagonal Cross of St. Patrick was incorporated with England's St. George's Cross and Scotland's Cross of St. Andrew. This gave the Royal Union flag its present-day configuration. This flag was used across British North America and in Canada even after Confederation in 1867.

Red Ensign, a red flag with the Union Jack in the upper left corner. Description to follow.

The Red Ensign, a red flag with the Union Jack in the upper corner, was created in 1707 as the flag of the British Merchant Marine. From approximately 1870 to 1904, it was used on land and sea as Canada's flag, with the addition of a shield in the fly bearing the quartered arms of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Although its use on land had never been sanctioned except by public usage, in 1892 the British admiralty approved the use of the Red Ensign for Canadian use at sea. This gave rise to the name the Canadian Red Ensign.

As new provinces entered Confederation, or when they received some mark of identification (sometimes taken from their seal), that mark was incorporated into the shield on the Canadian Red Ensign. By the turn of the century, the shield was made up of the coats of arms of the seven provinces then in Confederation.

In 1922, this unofficial version of the Canadian Red Ensign was changed by an Order in Council and the composite shield was replaced with the shield from the royal arms of Canada, more commonly known as the Canadian Coat of Arms. Two years later, this new version was approved for use on Canadian government buildings abroad. A similar order in 1945 authorized its use on federal buildings within Canada until a new national flag was adopted.

Canadian Flag

The Canadian Red Ensign was replaced by the red and white maple leaf flag on February 15, 1965.