The flag of Canada in the present form was adopted on 15 February 1965, replacing the British flag. Since 1996, February 15 has been observed annually as National Flag of Canada Day.
The National Flag of Canada consists of two red rectangles on the both sides, a white square between them and an 11-pointed red maple leaf centred on the white square. The flag is twice as long as it is wide.
The Canadian flag is known by different names. It is generally called the ‘National Flag of Canada’. It is also known as ‘The Maple Leaf’. It is called ‘l’Unifolié’ in French.
History of the Canadian Flag
The history of the Canadian flag is very interesting. Before being adopted as the National Flag in 1965, the Canadian flag underwent several changes that were primarily influenced by Europe.
The first flag known to have placed on the Canadian soil was the St George’s Cross carried by the explorer John Cabot in 1497. In 1534, Jacques Cartier flew the Fleur-de-lis on behalf of France. With the promulgation of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Canada became a colony of the British and the Union Flag, more commonly known as the Union jack, became its flag.
The Union jack continued to be used even after Canada’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1931. The Great Flag Debate which took place in 1964 in Canada decided in favor of a new flag in place of Union Jack. It was only in 1965 that the current flag of Canada came in existence.
The meaning of colors
The Canadian National Flag consists of two colors: white and red. These are the official colors of Canada as proclaimed by King George V of Britain in 1921. Both colors have historical significance. While the white refers to the French royal emblem used in the reign of Charles VII, the red symbolizes the cross of St. George, which was the emblem of the first flag that flew in Canada.
The most distinctive feature of the Canadian National Flag is the 11-pointed red maple leaf that adorns the center of the flag. A national emblem of Canada since 1834, the maple leaf was designed by Jacques Saint-Cyr, the Quebec nationalist.
Respect for the flag
The National Flag of Canada is a symbol of pride and honor for the people of Canada. Needless to say, it should be treated, used and displayed with respect.
Half-masting for mourning
Flags are flown at half-mast position to show grief for lives lost. The flag, when flown at half-mast, should be first raised to the peak for a moment and then immediately lowered slowly to the half-staff position.
How to dispose of a damaged Canadian flag
When a Canadian National Flag becomes worn or damaged and is no longer in a appropriated condition for use, it should be disposed with respect it deserves.