National Flag of Canada Day - Canadian Heritage

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National Flag of Canada Day - Feature

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Did you know? Did you know?
  • February 15 is National Flag of Canada Day. Check out the story behind our greatest national symbol.

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  • Fleur-de-lis
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    1577, St. George's Cross transition 1707, Royal Union Flag transition 1801, Royal Union Flag transition
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Did You Know?

Do's and Don'ts
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Every province and territory in Canada has its own flag. The one symbol that represents us at home and abroad is the red and white National Flag of Canada.
The Canadian Red Ensign flies at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in Vimy, France.
The maple leaf has been used as an emblem in Canada since the eighteenth century. It has often served to distinguish Canadians abroad, as was the case with Canada's first Olympians in 1904.
Red and white were proclaimed Canada's official colours in the proclamation of the Royal Arms of Canada in 1921 by King George V.
Dr. George Stanley, a professor at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario in 1964, suggested a red and white single maple leaf design for the flag because it could be seen clearly from a distance.
The Canadian flag is twice as long as it is wide. The white square and its maple leaf make up half the surface of the flag - equal to the 2 red bars combined.
Vexillologists (flag experts) often cite the National Flag of Canada as one of the world's most beautiful based on its simple design and limited number of colours.
Did You Know?

Do's and Don'ts

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The National Flag of Canada should always fly alone on its own mast or flagpole.
The National Flag of Canada can be flown at night without being lit.
When the National Flag of Canada is raised or lowered, or when it is carried past in a parade or review, people should face the flag, men should remove their hats, and all should remain silent.
The National Flag of Canada is half-mast on occasions when a public demonstration of sorrow is called for.
Replace a faded or torn flag with a new one. The correct form of disposing of an old flag is by burning it in private.
The dimensions/proportions of the National Flag of Canada have an exact ratio of 2 to 1 (twice as long as it is wide), and must not be modified.
The National Flag of Canada should not be written on or marked in any way, nor be covered by other objects.
Nothing should be pinned or sewn on the National Flag of Canada.
The National Flag of Canada should never be dipped or lowered to the ground as a means of paying a salute or compliment to any person or thing.
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Proposed Concepts

Sir Sandford Fleming, 1895

Sir Sandford Fleming, 1895

Anatole Vanier, 1927

Anatole Vanier, 1927

Gérard Galienne, 1931

Gérard Galienne, 1931

Ephrem Côté, 1939

Ephrem Côté, 1939

Ligue du drapeau national, c. 1943

Ligue du drapeau national, c. 1943

Parliamentary Committee, 1946

Parliamentary Committee, 1946

Canadian Art/Weekend Magazine, 1963

Canadian Art/Weekend Magazine, 1963

Fortescue Duiguid and John Matheson, 1945-1964

Fortescue Duiguid and John Matheson, 1945-1964

Proposed Flag, 1963

Proposed Flag, 1963

Proposed Flag, 1964

Proposed Flag, 1964

Alan Beddoe and Lester Pearson Parliamentary Committee (Group A)

Alan Beddoe and Lester Pearson Parliamentary Committee (Group A)

Reid Scott (NDP), May 1964

Reid Scott (NDP), May 1964

George Stanley, March 1964

George Stanley, March 1964

Parliamentary Committee (Group C Finalist), October 1964

Parliamentary Committee (Group C Finalist), October 1964

Parliamentary Committee (Group B Finalist), December 1964

Parliamentary Committee (Group B Finalist), December 1964

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1534, Fleur-de-lis

Fleur-de-lis

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.
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1577, St. George's Cross

St. George's Cross

The St. George's Cross, which is prominent in many provincial and territorial coats of arms, traces its history back to the legend of St. George, who became the patron saint of England in the late Middle Ages.
1577 1707 1707
1707, Royal Union Flag

Royal Union Flag

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).
1707 1707 1801
1801, Royal Union Flag

Royal Union Flag

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.
1577 1707 1801
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1922, Canadian Red Ensign

Canadian Red Ensign

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.
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1965, Our Flag

The National Flag of Canada

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

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