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

West Kelowna RCMP investigating early morning shooting

A man was shot in the 2400 block of Quince Road just before 1:30 a.m. on April 7

Community Health Services Centre closes for building maintenance

The Interior Health building closed in Kelowna due to a leak

‘Do not push the button’: Downtown Kelowna crossings go touchless amid COVID-19 pandemic

The pedestrian crossings at 19 intersections were automated last week to reduce contact points

Join the Regional District on Instagram Live

The Regional District of Central Okanagan parks interpretive programs are going online

COVID-19: Diabetes Canada donation bins becoming garbage dumps amid pandemic

Diabetes Canada has asked residents to stop overflowing bins with donations and garbage

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

RCMP on the hunt for ‘armed’ suspects in North Okanagan

Residents alarmed over increased police presence Tuesday morning

Look at hospitalizations, not recovery stats for COVID-19, B.C. professor says

Cases in hospital are a definitive count of people who have the novel coronavirus

B.C. First Nations want to launch fight of Trans Mountain pipeline approval

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear five challenges about the pipeline

N95 masks on the way for Canada after 3M reaches deal with White House

The Trump White House had ordered 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada

Summerland couple sharing positive messages

Carsten and Val Nielsen are displaying professionally made signs during COVID-19 pandemic

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

COVID-19: Vernon company creates reusable respirators

From athletes to those most at risk, VO2 Master’s adapts production to fill PPE need

Most Read