February 15th was declared National Flag of Canada Day in 1996. It marks the day in 1965 when our red and white maple leaf flag was first raised over Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and indeed, hundreds of communities across Canada. Red and white were designated as Canada’s official colours in 1921 by His Majesty King George V.
Did You Know?
- 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.
When the Canadian flag flies along with the flags of the 10 provinces and 3 territories, the flags of the provinces and territories follow in the order that they entered Confederation.
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.
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.
In 1982, Laurie Skreslet, a skier from Calgary, took the Canadian flag to the highest point in the world, Mount Everest. Along with the flag, the expedition was outfitted with another 27 tonnes of equipment.
- In 1984, the Canadian flag reached new heights when it blasted into space on the flight mission uniform of Marc Garneau, the first Canadian astronaut in space.
Happy National Flag of Canada Day!