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When did the maple leaf become the emblem of Canada?

The maple leaf was historically used from the early days of Canada to symbolize the land and its people. It was first proposed as an emblem of Canada in 1834 when the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste was founded; shortly thereafter, in 1836, Le Canadien, a newspaper published in Lower Canada, referred to it as a suitable emblem for Canada.

It was also used in the decorations for the visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada in 1860. It appears on the coats of arms granted to Quebec and Ontario in 1868 and as a distinctive emblem on the royal arms of Canada proclaimed in 1921. The maple leaf was for many years the symbol of the Canadian Armed Forces and was used to identify Canadian contingents in the two world wars. But it wasn't to receive official status until the National Flag of Canada was proclaimed by Her Majesty the Queen in 1965.

What is the correct designation for the Canadian flag?

The official name is the National Flag of Canada.

When was the Canadian flag officially approved and how is it described?

The National Flag of Canada was approved by Parliament in 1964 and proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to take effect on February 15, 1965. It is a red flag, twice as long as it is wide, containing in its centre a white square bearing a red maple leaf. Red and white are Canada's official colours and, with the maple leaf, are the symbolic elements found in the Canadian flag.

When were red and white designated Canada's official colours?

Red and white were designated Canada's colours by King George V on Novemb1921, in the proclamation of the Royal Arms of Canada -- Canada's coat of arms.

What is the significance of the eleven points of the maple leaf?

The maple leaf, as found on the national flag, is a stylized design. The symbolism lies in the maple leaf itself, which is the traditional emblem of Canada. There is no special significance to the eleven points.

What other flags were previously used in Canada?

The St. George's Cross -- an English flag of the 15th century -- was carried by John Cabot when he reached the east coast of Canada in 1497, sailing under English colours.

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.

First flown over Canada in 1621, the Royal Union Flag (the Union Jack) was used across British North America and in Canada even after Confederation in 1867.

From about 1870, various forms of the Canadian Red Ensign were used on land and sea as Canada's unofficial flag as well as the Union Jack. In 1945, the Canadian government authorized the use of the Red Ensign on federal buildings within Canada until such time as a new national flag was adopted.


SOURCE: Canadian Heritage