The Canadian Flag
A Symbol of Hope & Possibility
Canada’s National Flag is an inspiring sight, and its symbolism is even more powerful when children fly it in the air. It becomes a beacon of hope and freedom that will be carried forward by future generations. Flying the flag is an open display of pride and affection for Canada, a country that sees strength in uniting different cultures, languages and beliefs. To all, Canada’s National Flag says, “We belong.”
In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson launched a project to create a new National Flag. More than 2,600 design ideas were received. It took an all-party flag committee 41 meetings to narrow the choices down to three. At the stroke of noon on February 15, 1965, the Canadian Red Ensign (Canada’s previous flag) was lowered on Parliament Hill and replaced by the National Flag of Canada.
Historically speaking, Canada’s National Flag is quite young. It’s only 54 years old. Anyone born after 1965 might view the red-and-white maple leaf flag as a lifelong fixture. Many people who study flags consider Canada’s National Flag one of the world’s most beautiful because of its simple bold design and colours. It’s the only national flag featuring a maple leaf.
There are 5 flags on Parliament Hill: one on the Peace Tower, two on Centre Block, and one on the West and East Blocks. Any Canadian resident can ask for a flag that has flown on Parliament Hill by contacting Public Services and Procurement Canada.
The Flag Master replaces the flag on the Peace Tower every weekday. The rest are changed every week. It takes about 30 minutes to replace the Peace Tower flag. The Flag Master takes an elevator to the observation deck, and then climbs another 33 metres of stairs and ladders to get to the flagpole.
The official way to describe the flag is by explaining it as a red flag with a white square in its center, which is adorned with a red maple leaf. Its design is symmetrical. Official flag etiquette requires that the National Flag of Canada never touch the ground.