You may have seen it proudly flying on flagpoles across the country, or you may have waved a paper flag on Canada Day or wore a pin adorned with the flag on your clothing.
Regardless of where you see it, the National Flag of Canada stands out both at home and abroad as one of the most striking and recognizable symbols representing Canada.
Municipality of Cumberland Mayor Murray Scott signed a proclamation on Wednesday, Feb.15, 2023, as National Flag of Canada Day within the municipality.
While the quest for a national flag for Canada dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the flag as we know it today emerged from the major social transformations during the 1950s and 1960s in the lead-up to the 100th anniversary of Confederation in 1967.
The new maple leaf flag was made official by a proclamation from Queen Elizabeth II on Jan. 28, 1965. On Feb. 15 of that year, it was inaugurated in a public ceremony on Parliament Hill. Thousands of Canadians gathered as the Canadian Red Ensign was lowered and, at the stroke of noon, the new National Flag of Canada was hoisted.
Prime Minister Pearson’s words on the occasion resound with hope and determination: “May the land over which this new flag flies remain united in freedom and justice … sensitive, tolerant and compassionate towards all.”
In the words of John Matheson, the new flag “was the handiwork of many loving hands, extended over a long period of Canada’s history.”
This collaborative effort created an elegant new emblem, instantly recognizable as the foremost symbol of Canada, its values, and the millions of citizens who make up the Canadian family. In 1967, the year of Canada’s 100th birthday, our new flag was showcased to the world at Expo ‘67.
While the design of the flag was new, it featured a familiar symbol that had a long history of use in Canada. The maple leaf emerged in the 19th century as a symbol of Canadian identity and was everywhere in popular culture: books, songs, coins, badges, banners, and many other items.
Generations of Canadians had already adopted the maple leaf as a symbol of their identity, but it is during the First World War — when it was used as the cap badge worn by members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force — that it became the most widely recognized emblem of the nation. Most poignantly, it is a single maple leaf that is carved upon many of the headstones of Canadian servicemen and women who gave their lives in the two world wars.
For many, the maple leaf was a shared symbol of pride, courage and loyalty. (Source: The history of the National Flag of Canada)