National Flag of Canada Day is observed every year on February 15. This day marks the inauguration of the present flag of Canada with the red maple leaf. The flag signifies the common values that unite all citizens of Canada — equality, diversity, and inclusion. On this day, you might see the Canadian flag waving in glory from building tops and people distributing miniature flags on the streets. Some people prefer wearing pins in the design of the flag to honor this occasion. In many schools, special lessons are delivered on the history of the flag and its significance. Let’s dive a little deeper to find out more about this auspicious day.
History of National Flag of Canada Day
The history of Canada’s red and white maple leaf flag is quite eventful. You might be surprised to know that it hasn’t been around for all that long. Although Canada’s quest for a national flag had begun in the late 19th century, the current version of the flag only emerged during the 1960s.
Even after Confederation in 1867, Canada showcased the royal union flag of the United Kingdom as its own. By the 1870s, the Red Ensign — a combination of the Union Jack and the shield of Canada — began to be used unofficially as a national symbol. As the nation started growing, its people felt the need for distinct symbols to represent their nationality. In 1921, King George V granted Royal Arms to Canada, and this found its place on the Red Ensign. This new version was used as a patriotic emblem during World War II.
In the following years, several protests were carried out, with a number of Canadians losing their lives in the struggle. Then, in 1960, Lester B. Pearson, the leader of the opposition, decided to put an end to the problem of the flag. This eventually led to the Great Flag Debate which ended in the approval of the present design of the Canadian flag. George Stanley was the person behind the design, which features a stylized red maple leaf on a white surface flanked by red borders.
The new flag became official after Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed it on January 28, 1965. On February 15 that same year, it was hoisted on Parliament Hill at the stroke of noon. That’s how the maple leaf flag came into being!
National Flag of Canada Day timeline
Queen Elizabeth II proclaims Canada’s iconic flag with its red and white stripes and it is raised for the very first time.
The Canadian flag travels to the highest peak in the world — Mount Everest — with mountaineer Laurie Skreslet.
The National Flag of Canada takes its first flight to space on NASA’s space shuttle, Challenger.
Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, observes National Flag of Canada Day by presenting the flag to two citizens for their honorary contribution to the military.
National Flag of Canada Day FAQs
What is the purpose of the National Flag of Canada Act?
The purpose of this piece of legislation is to encourage Canadians to display their national flag.
What does Canada’s flag look like?
The Canadian flag has two vertical red stripes on either side with a white block in the middle. A red maple leaf is depicted in the white block.
What is the meaning of Canada’s flag?
The red-and-white ensemble with its maple leaf represents Canada’s cultural heritage as well as the nation’s values of hope, peace, and neutrality.
National Flag of Canada Day Activities
Wear the colors of the flag
On this holiday, add a flash of red and a dab of white to your outfit and carry the pride of your nation in your clothes. One idea would be to throw a red tie over your formal suit for a change. Ladies, a pair of red trousers might go well with a plain white shirt.
Organize a flag-hoisting ceremony
Invite your friends over for a little flag-raising ceremony and sing the national anthem. Think about all the reasons that you’re grateful to be Canadian — or the reasons you wish you were Canadian.
A great way of paying tribute to the national flag would be to create something of your own. You could try making your own flag or creating some artwork using the color code of the flag.
5 Important Facts About The Canadian Flag
A million flags were handed out
In 1996, a million flags were distributed among Canadians as part of the One in a Million National Flag Challenge so they could display them the following year.
The Betsy Ross of Canada
Joan O’Malley, a retired civil servant, sewed the first samples of the present Canadian flag.
The flag is a thing of beauty
Flag experts often regard the Canadian flag as one of the world's most beautiful owing to its uniform color contrast and captivating design.
The design is incredibly precise
The maple leaf on the Canadian flag was styled with eleven points.
There are flag rules to follow
When the Canadian flag is raised, lowered, or carried in a parade, men must remove their hats, and everyone must face the flag in silence.
Why We Love National Flag of Canada Day
It’s a historic day
This holiday is a historic one as it commemorates the day the Canadian flag was raised for the first time. This was a proud moment in Canada’s history.
It symbolizes national values
This is a day for all Canadians to come together and celebrate the values that their flag stands for. It’s an opportunity to remember to uphold kindness, equality, and politeness.
It’s a chance to unite with your fellow countrymen
This holiday calls for all Canadians to leave behind their differences and join hands as one people. This isn’t limited to just one day — it is a reminder to always be kind and just.
National Flag of Canada Day dates