It was 12:00 noon on February 15, 1965 when Canada’s maple leaf flag was raised for the first time. Fast forward 31 years to February 15, 1996, when Prime Minister Jean Chrétien declared this day as National Flag Day of Canada (Flag Day).
Flag Day is about celebrating the Canadian flag, yet it is about so much more! On February 15, all Canadians are united in our pride for our flag, our deep sense of privilege in calling Canada our home, – and our hope for the future as a nation.
As Canadians, we can all identify with this flag, reflecting the fabric of our great country, – geographically and historically, – and symbolizing Canadian values such as freedom, justice, peace, tolerance, compassion and respect. Our flag honours all Canadians throughout history, and up to the present day, who have contributed to building our country – as well as future Canadians – who will ensure the legacy of our forefathers and mothers will always be remembered. Our flag is a beautiful symbol of our collective Canadian identity.
Canadian Flag Prior to 1965
The flag of the United Kingdom, called the Royal Union Flag, was used as the official flag of Canada until 1965. Between 1868 and 1965, various designs of the Canadian Red Ensign were used, although none of these were ever officially adopted by Parliament. The flag we know and love today is the result of much debate and discussion, – and was officially adopted on December 15, 1964.
When was the last time you saw the Canadian flag and felt a deep sense of personal pride in being Canadian? To mark this special day, take a selfie with the flag and share with your fellow Canadians.