Flag of Canada

Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg
NameCanadian flag, The Maple Leaf
UseNational flag, civil and state ensign
AdoptedFebruary 15, 1965
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
Flag of Canada.svg
Variant flag of Canada
NameFlag of Canada, using CMYK specifications

The flag of Canada (French: le drapeau du Canada), often referred to as the Canadian flag, or unofficially as the Maple Leaf and l'Unifolié (French for "the one-leafed"), is the national flag of Canada which 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.[1] It is the first flag approved by Parliament for use as the country's national flag.

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,[2] 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 unofficially used since the 1890s and approved by a 1945 Order in Council for use "wherever place or occasion may make it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag".[3][4] Also, the Royal Union Flag remains an official flag in Canada. 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.

Origins and design

The Canadian flag flying at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Construction sheet.

The flag is horizontally symmetric and therefore the obverse and reverse sides appear identical. The width of the Maple Leaf flag is twice the height. The white field is a Canadian pale (a square central band in a vertical triband flag, named after this flag); each bordering red field is exactly half its size[5] and it bears a stylized red maple leaf at its centre. In heraldic terminology, the flag's blazon as outlined on the original royal proclamation is "gules on a Canadian pale argent a maple leaf of the first".[6][8]

The maple leaf has been used as a Canadian emblem since the 18th century.[9] It was first used as a national symbol in 1868 when it appeared on the coat of arms of both Ontario and Quebec.[10] In 1867, Alexander Muir composed the patriotic song "The Maple Leaf Forever", which became an unofficial anthem in English-speaking Canada.[11] The maple leaf was later added to the Canadian coat of arms in 1921.[10] From 1876 until 1901, the leaf appeared on all Canadian coins and remained on the penny after 1901.[12] The use of the maple leaf by the Royal Canadian Regiment as a regimental symbol extended back to 1860.[13] During the First World War and Second World War, badges of the Canadian Forces were often based on a maple leaf design.[14] The maple leaf would eventually adorn the tombstones of Canadian military graves.[15]

By proclaiming the Royal Arms of Canada, King George V in 1921 made red and white the official colours of Canada; the former came from Saint George's Cross and the latter from the French royal emblem since King Charles VII.[16] These colours became "entrenched" as the national colours of Canada upon the proclamation of the Royal Standard of Canada (the Canadian monarch's personal flag) in 1962.[17] The Department of Canadian Heritage has listed the various colour shades for printing ink that should be used when reproducing the Canadian flag; these include:[5]

  • FIP red: General Printing Ink, No. 0-712;
  • Inmont Canada Ltd., No. 4T51577;
  • Monarch Inks, No. 62539/0
  • Rieger Inks, No. 25564
  • Sinclair and Valentine, No. RL163929/0.

The number of points on the leaf has no special significance;[18] the number and arrangement of the points were chosen after wind tunnel tests showed the current design to be the least blurry of the various designs when tested under high wind conditions.[19]

The image of the maple leaf used on the flag was designed by Jacques Saint-Cyr;[20] Jack Cook claims that this stylized eleven-point maple leaf was lifted from a copyrighted design owned by a Canadian craft shop in Ottawa.[21] The colours 0/100/100/0 in the CMYK process, PMS 032 (flag red 100%), or PMS 485 (used for screens) in the Pantone colour specifier can be used when reproducing the flag.[5] For the Federal Identity Program, the red tone of the standard flag has an RGB value of 255–0–0 (web hexadecimal #FF0000).[22] In 1984, the National Flag of Canada Manufacturing Standards Act was passed to unify the manufacturing standards for flags used in both indoor and outdoor conditions.[23]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Vlag van Kanada
العربية: علم كندا
azərbaycanca: Kanada bayrağı
беларуская: Сцяг Канады
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Сьцяг Канады
bosanski: Zastava Kanade
brezhoneg: Banniel Kanada
čeština: Kanadská vlajka
Cymraeg: Baner Canada
Esperanto: Flago de Kanado
hrvatski: Zastava Kanade
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: কানাডার ফিরালহান
Bahasa Indonesia: Bendera Kanada
íslenska: Fáni Kanada
עברית: דגל קנדה
Kinyarwanda: Ibendera rya Kanada
latviešu: Kanādas karogs
lietuvių: Kanados vėliava
македонски: Знаме на Канада
Bahasa Melayu: Bendera Kanada
Nederlands: Vlag van Canada
norsk nynorsk: Det kanadiske flagget
polski: Flaga Kanady
русский: Флаг Канады
Simple English: Flag of Canada
slovenčina: Vlajka Kanady
slovenščina: Zastava Kanade
српски / srpski: Застава Канаде
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zastava Kanade
українська: Прапор Канади
Tiếng Việt: Quốc kỳ Canada