The Canadian National Flag
The Canadian Flag, sometimes referred to as the "Maple Leaf", is a true symbol of Canada and shows how we love our land by having a maple leaf on the flag. The colours of the flag are the official national colours of Canada, red and white. King George V appointed them in 1921.
The Maple Leaf wasn't the only flag Canada had. Prior to the Maple Leaf there was the St. George's cross. The St. Georges Cross was an English Flag of the 15th century. It was flown over Canada when John Cabot reached the east coast of Canada in 1497. Thirty-seven years later, the fleur-de-lis was planted on Canadian Soil when Jacques Cartier landed here and claimed the land for the King of France. The flag was flown until the early 1760's, when Canada was ceded to the United Kingdom. The Royal Union flag (with the Crosses of St. George's and St. Andrew's flags) replaced the fleur-de-lis after 1759.
The search for a new flag begun in 1925, when a committee of Privy Council begun to research possible designs for a national flag. In 1946, a select parliamentary committee called for submissions of designs and they received over 2000, but the Parliament never voted on a design. Early in 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson informed the House of Commons that the government wished to adopt a national flag. In October 1964, after eliminating different designs. The committee was left with three designs, a red ensign with the fleur-de-lis and the Union Jack, a design with three red maple leafs, and a red flag with a single maple leaf on a white square in the middle. Pearson preferred a design with three red maple leafs between two blue boarders.
Alan Beddoe, a retired navel captain, and Colonel Fortescue Duguid were two heraldry experts, who both favoured the three leaf design, and played decisive roles in the choice of our flag. Dr. George Stanley was Dean of Arts at the Royal Military College in Kingston, and brought to the attention of the committee the
The sole function of any flag is to send a message. A national flag sends the message of nationality. In doing so, it forms the nation's premier graphic symbol, second in importance only to the nation's premier linguistic symbol: its name. Yet, for nearly a century following Confederation, Canadians lacked a national flag. Although, there were various governmental flags which represented Canada as a state, there was no formal flag which represented Canadians themselves; none which individual Canadians could fly to proclaim their Canadianness: no flag of Canada as a nation. This omission did not result from indifference on the part of Canadians towards flags, quite the reverse. It resulted from the passion that these symbols aroused in Canadians. The difficulty did not arise from any inherent unwillingness of Canadians to proclaim their identity upon flags, but their factious inability to agree upon a common symbolic identity. In retrospect, the choice of such a symbol would seem to have been inevitable, for to see a maple leaf is to think of Canada. While the beaver had been pre-eminent in the eighteenth century, its symbolic value was tied to its economic value, and both plummeted in the early nineteenth century. Not only did the fur trade largely bypass Montréal after the amalgamation of the North West and the Hudson's Bay Companies, but what beaver trade there was declined with the advent of the silk hat. This left the maple leaf as the pre-eminent Canadian symbol. In 1836, Étienne Parent added maple leaves to the masthead of his newspaper, Le Canadien, and noted, what he surely thought was obvious to all: "Le principal, la feuille d'Erable, a été, comme on sait, adopté comme l'emblême du Bas-Canada..." A year later, the maple leaf made its first appearance upon a Canadian flag, albeit an informal flag: the patriotes of Saint-Eustache carried a banner with a design of striking similarity to masthead of the Le Canadien. Following Confederation,...
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