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

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Nechako Centre building was a retail space built in 1955. The building is now vacant and is listed for sale for $4.4Million. Sitting on 0.72 acres, the building is currently under a redevelopment/revitalization process. (Jacob Lubberts Photo)
Nechako Centre teardown in Kitimat for sale at $4.4 million

B.C. assessments valued the property at $843,000 with a land value of only $492,000

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Raising more than $1,300 for the KVHS’s dementia home project, Dennis and Brenda Horwood leave Kitimat with a bang and start their new retirement journey together. (Photo supplied)
KVHS thanks local Kitimat couple for their contributions to the dementia home project

Dennis and Brenda Horwood raise $1,360 during a retirement garage sale

No increase in fees will be made by the leisure services department in the summer months. Reviews will be made again in May/June for any recommended fee adjustments in the fall. (District of Kitimat photo)
District of Kitimat halt leisure fee increases until the fall

The Leisure Services Advisory Commission recommended no increase take place at this time

Mount Elizabeth Theatre have been approved for a provision of funding by city council for up to $42,000. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat’s multi-use theatre grant request approved for live streaming equipment

A funding commitment of up to $42,000 was granted from council to the Mount Elizabeth Theatre

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

(Bandstra Transportation photo)
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Most Read