Flag of Canada

The National Flag of Canada (French: le Drapeau national du Canada),[1] often simply referred to as the Canadian flag or, unofficially, as the Maple Leaf or l'Unifolié (French: [l‿ynifɔlje]; lit.'the one-leafed'), consists of a red field with a white square at its centre in the ratio of 1:2:1, in the middle of which is featured a stylized, red, 11-pointed maple leaf charged in the centre.[2] It is the first flag to have been adopted by both houses of Parliament and officially proclaimed by the Canadian monarch as the country's official national flag.[3] The flag has become the predominant and most recognizable national symbol of Canada.

Canada
Name
  • The Maple Leaf
  • l'Unifolié (French)
UseNational flag
Proportion1:2
AdoptedFebruary 15, 1965; 56 years ago (1965-02-15)
DesignA vertical triband of red (hoist-side and fly-side) and white (double width) with the red maple leaf centred on the white band.
Designed byGeorge F. G. Stanley

In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson formed a committee to resolve the ongoing issue of the lack of an official Canadian flag, sparking a serious debate about a flag change to replace the Union Flag. Out of three choices, the maple leaf design by George Stanley,[4] based on the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada, was selected. The flag made its first official appearance on February 15, 1965; the date is now celebrated annually as National Flag of Canada Day.

The Canadian Red Ensign was in unofficial use since the 1860s and officially approved by a 1945 Order in Council for use "wherever place or occasion may make it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag".[5][6] Also, the Royal Union Flag remains an official flag in Canada, to symbolize Canada's allegiance to the monarch and membership in the Commonwealth of Nations.[7] There is no law dictating how the national flag is to be treated, but there are conventions and protocols to guide how it is to be displayed and its place in the order of precedence of flags, which gives it primacy over the aforementioned and most other flags.

Many different flags created for use by Canadian officials, government bodies, and military forces contain the maple leaf motif in some fashion, either by having the Canadian flag charged in the canton, or by including maple leaves in the design. The Canadian flag also appears on the government's wordmark.