Friday 19 February 2016

The Maple Leaf Forever!

On Monday, February 15th, Canada celebrated Flag Day. It was on that day in 1965 that the red and white maple leaf flag was first officially used.

To celebrate, we pulled out a few interesting records from the archives.

The photo below is of one of a flag that was in use in Canada between 1922 and 1957 called the Canadian Red Ensign. In the upper left corner is the Union Jack, and in the lower right is the shield of the Canadian Coat of Arms. This particular flag was once used at St. Michael's Cathedral, but came to us through St. Augustine's Seminary.

Red Ensign Flag: ca. 1921-1957
TX 114

Close up of the shield of the Canadian Red Ensign, 1921-1957. In 1957 the three green maple leaves were changed to red.

Today's Canadian flag was adopted in 1965. There was a lot of disagreement about what the national flag should be, so Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson struck a parliamentary committee with members from all parties to find a new design. Thousands of suggestions were considered, but ultimately the single-leaf flag designed by George Stanley won out.

A print of the current Canadian flag signed by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. This item was owned by Cardinal Carter, who had it hanging in his cottage.

Today the flag is proudly flown across the country and around the world at Canadian installations. It has even been to space! When it is seen on a sleeve or a backpack in foreign places, people know they will find polite, kind and friendly travelers. Most of the time we live up to those expectations!

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