Today marks the 50th birthday of our flag. Since Canada became Canada in 1867, you are probably wondering why the flag is only 50 years old. Well, here is a quick explanation.
The year was 1964 and Canada’s centennial was fast approaching. Parliament voted to adopt a new design for the Canadian flag and issued a call for submissions. Almost 4,000 designs were submitted in many different colour combinations and motifs by Canadians from all walks of life, including A. Y. Jackson of the Group of Seven. Submissions came in all shapes and sizes and on a variety of materials: wrapping paper, tissue paper, wallpaper, cardboard, bristol board, mat board, pieces of cloth, etc. Some people used pictures out of magazines, the labels off commercial products or postcards or included petitions in support of their design.
The final design was announced on December 15, 1964, and the official ceremony inaugurating the new Canadian flag was held on February 15, 1965.
The maple leaf as found on the national flag is a traditional emblem of Canada. It was for many years the symbol of the Canadian Armed Forces and was used to identify Canadian contingents in the two world wars.
Did you know…
- The flag on Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower is 4.6 metres (or 15′) wide and 2.3 metres (or 7′ 6”) tall. That’s taller than the average Canadian (1.7 metres or 5′ 6”)!
- A Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) employee changes the Peace Tower flag every working day, except during unsafe weather conditions.
- Flags flown on Parliament Hill never serve another official purpose, regardless of the time spent on the pole.
For more information, I would have you read an earlier post of mine from December 14, 2012, “That’s it!” that tells of the Canadian flag’s birth.
You can listen to composer Freddy Grant’s (1913 – 1996) song “Flag of Canada,” (published by Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd.) below.
Another interesting video to watch is the Great Canadian Flag debate:
Happy 50th Birthday to our flag!