12 things you didn't know about the Canadian flag

Jul 1 2023, 4:00 pm

From hockey jerseys to flying high on flag poles across the country, the Canadian flag unites us, and the lone red maple leaf is a symbol of our national pride.

On February 15, 1965, the National Flag of Canada as we know it today was raised for the first time over Parliament Hill, in communities across the country, and in Canadian diplomatic and consular missions around the world.

Here’s what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had to say about the so-called Pearson Pennant: “A single red maple leaf has come to represent the values we hold dear as a society — freedom, generosity, openness, and respect — and the promise of an entire country.”

The Maple Leaf is a source of pride but coming up with that maple leaf design was not an easy feat. So, we thought it would be fun to take you back to high school history class and go over some surprising facts about the Canadian flag and how it came to be the red maple leaf we all love.

1. The maple leaf has been a symbol of Canada since the 18th century

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2. In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson formed a committee in order to decide on the official design of the Canadian flag

3. Pearson’s preferred choice for a new Canadian flag was this design, which was nicknamed “the Pearson Pennant”

4. The Canadian Red Ensign was the former Canadian flag used by the federal government before the official maple-leaf design was introduced

5. Red and white were named Canada’s official colours in the proclamation of the Royal Arms of Canada in 1921 by King George V

6. Dr. George Stanley, a professor at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, came up with the red and maple leaf design

7. The maple leaf design was inspired by the flag of The Royal Military College of Canada

8. There were 5,000 flag designs submitted and examined before Stanley’s design was chosen

9. The largest Canadian flag ever made was 38 metres by 76 metres and cost $15,000 to make

10. In 2005, one of the original maple leaf flags that flew over Parliament on February 15, 1966, was returned to Canada by its owner, Elisabeth Hoffmann-Lamoureux

11. The Canadian flag is twice as long as it is wide. No other national flag has those dimensions

12. The flags flown on Parliament Hill are given away for free. But the waitlist for one is over 100 years!

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