Flag of Canada. History and Facts on the many versions.

The flag of Canada flag has only two colors – red and white, the official colors appointed to Canada by King George V in 1921. Canadian Flag

The flag has two vertical strips of red, which are each about one fourth the flag and are on the left and right sides.

In the center is a white portion of the flag that has a stylized 11-point red maple leaf.

Choosing the new flag of Canada in 1964

Early in 1964, Canada’s government decided to adopt a new and distinctive national flag.

Several designs were proposed to the House of Commons.

A House of Commons committee searched through hundreds of designs before finally presenting only three designs for final consideration.

Of the three final flags for consideration, one was a design with three red maple leaves between two blue borders.

Another design was a Red Ensign with the fleur-de-lis and the Royal Union Flag or Union Jack combined on the flag.

The final one was a single red 11-point maple leaf on a white square in the center of a red flag.

The red part of the flag appeared to be two vertical strips of red on the left and right sides.

The Committee adopted this last flag design, unanimously in October 1964, as the new flag of Canada.

The Canadian Parliament adopted the flag on October 22, 1964.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who is also the Queen of Canada, on February 15, 1965, proclaimed the flag into law.

The Flag of Cananda is known locally by Canadians as The Maple Leaf Flag.

History of Canada’s Flags

Taking a look at the flags in Canada’s history show us that the first flag of Canada was England’s St George’s Cross.

This was the English flag carried by John Cabot as he reached the east coast in 1497. His exact landing site has been debated to be Labrador, Newfoundland, Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island.

The St. George's Cross is shown on many of the provincial and territorial coats of arms and is the central cross on the Union Jack.

This flag had a white background and a vertical and horizontal cross in red.

Canada’s French flags

In 1534, the French landed on Canadian soil with the Royal Banner of France which showed the Fleur-de-lis.

It was the symbol of French sovereignty, and became the flag of Canada for certain parts of the country.

This flag displayed three gold fleur-de-lis on a dark blue field.

The three fleur-de-lis were to represent the holy trinity and were spaced evenly across the flag with two in the top half and one centered in the bottom half of the flag.

The French brought with them the French language, customs and culture, which is why to this day Canada is officially a bilingual nation with French and English as the two official languages.

In Quebec there is a large French speaking community, and through government efforts all schools in Quebec teach students both French and English and most young people are bilingual.

Canada is therefore a great place to learn French and there are many French language schools there, and it is an ideal place for total immersion learning.

In 1763 at the Treaty of Paris, Canada was ceded by the French to the United Kingdom.

Canada’s English- Scottish flags

In 1760, a new flag was chosen by James VI of Scotland when he became King James I of England.

This new flag was a combination of the flags of Scotland and England and it represented the union of the two.

The St. Georges Cross was overlaid on the Scottish cross of St. Andrew.

In 1801, the Act of Union was signed between Britain and Ireland.

At that point, the union of England, Scotland and Ireland resulted in the combination of Ireland's diagonal Cross of St. Patrick, England's St. George's Cross, and Scotland's Cross of St. Andrew.

This became the flag known as the Royal Union Flag or the Union Jack.

Another flag also flown over Canada was the Red Ensign.

The British Red Ensign was a red flag with the Union Flag on the left upper corner.

The Hudson’s Bay Company added the capital letters H B C in white on the fly side of the flag.

This customized flag was often used by the Hudson’s Bay Company as their own identity.

The Maple Leaf flag of Canada has, since 1964, become one of the most recognizable flags in the world.

Now you know all there is to know about the flag of Canada, now check out the country's facts & stats.

More info for the student of French on Canada
Canadian– facts & figures | Learning French at Language in Canada | Canadian History | Canada Maps |
More about Flags of Francophone Countries
Flag of Belgium | Flag of Benin | Flag of Burkina Faso | Flag of Burundi | Flag of Cameroon | Flag of Canada | Flag of Central African Republic | Flag of Chad | Flag of Congo | Flag of Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire) | Flag of Djibouti | Flag of France | Flag of French Guiana | Flag of French Polynesia | Flag of Gabon | Flag of Guadeloupe | Flag of Guinea | Flag of Haiti | Flag of Laos | Flag of Lebanon | Flag of New Caledonia | Flag of Niger | Flag of Zaire

Flag of Canada
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