The Canadian Flag celebrates its 55th anniversary on Feb. 15, 2020. (Black Press Media files)

Canada’s flag was flown for first time 55 years ago today

The flag is used to celebrate wins in sports, honour Canada Day, and flown at half-mast after tragedy

Fifty-five years ago today, the Canadian flag was raised for the very first time on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. One year later, the federal government declared Feb. 15 as the National Flag of Canada Day.

“Over the decades, the maple leaf has been a symbol in Canadian art, medals, badges, and coats of arms,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Saturday.

“It has travelled to the highest peaks on Mount Everest, into space with the first Canadian astronaut, and around the world on the arms of Canadian Armed Forces members. This summer, Canadian athletes will wear it with pride at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

To commemorate the day, here’s some quick facts you might not know about the national emblem:

Flag design was a decades-long debate

The current red and white maple leaf flag was selected by an all-party committee in what historians call the Great Flag Debate, after then-Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson called for the creation of a new flag in 1964.

Talks of the country needing a new flag had gone on for decades prior, each time dissolving before a design could be chosen. In 1925, former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King set up a committee in attempt to create a design. Another committee was appointed in 1945, and suggested a flag highlighting a red ensign with a gold maple leaf, but was struck down by legislators in Quebec.

Flag design chosen from thousands of submissions

In 1964, Pearson’s committee put a callout for design submissions from the public, receiving thousands of proposals. According to historians, 2,000 of the submissions contained a variation of the maple leaf.

On Oct. 29, 1964, it was George Stanley’s proposal that was selected by the committee, which inspired the current flag’s design. At 2:15 a.m. on Dec. 15, 1964, the maple leaf design was passed with 186 votes for and 78 votes against.

There are dos and don’ts when displaying the flag

Today, many find ways to display the Canadian flag inside or outside their home – especially on Canada Day. But there’s actually a number of rules when it comes to using the flag, according to the federal government, including:

  • The dimensions or proportions of the flag have an exact ratio of 2 to 1 (twice as long as it is wide), and must not be modified.
  • The flag should not be written on or marked in any way, nor be covered by other objects.
  • Nothing should be pinned or sewn onto the flag.
  • The flag should never be dipped or lowered to the ground as a means of paying a salute or compliment to any person or thing.
  • When the flag is raised or lowered, or when it is carried past in a parade or review, people should face the flag, men should remove their hats, and all should remain silent.
  • Fading or torn flags should be replaced with a new one and destroyed in a dignified way.
  • The flag should always fly alone on its own flagpole or mast and can be flown at night without being lit up.
  • The only flags that take precedent over the Canadian flag are: the Queen’s Personal Canadian flag, the Governor General’s flag, the flags of the Lieutenant Governors (within their province) and the Personal Canadian flags of the other members of the Royal Family.

Canada

Just Posted

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

Hearing begins into blind community’s complaint against BC Transit, City of Victoria

Complainant says bike lane infrastructure biased against blind pedestrians

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

One man in hospital with severe injuries after small fire in Victoria apartment building

Man was found by firefighters responding to multiple 911 calls about smoke on third floor

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

Police investigating string of break-ins at closed Saanich care home

Electronics, tools reported stolen from Mount Tolmie Hospital

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

37-year-old man missing from Cobble Hill area

He is described as a First Nations man, 5 foot 8 in height

Most Read