Flag of Canada

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The National Flag of Canada,[1] also known as the Maple Leaf, and l'Unifolié (French for "the one-leafed"), is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag. The Canadian Red Ensign had been unofficially used since the 1890s and was approved by a 1945 Order-in-Council for use "wherever place or occasion may make it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag".[2][3] In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson appointed a committee to resolve the issue, sparking a serious debate about a flag change. Out of three choices, the maple leaf design by George F. G. Stanley and John Matheson based on the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada was selected. The flag made its first appearance on February 15, 1965; the date is now celebrated annually as National Flag of Canada Day.[4]

Many different flags have been created for use by Canadian officials, government bodies, and military forces. Most of these flags contain the maple leaf motif in some fashion, either by having the Canadian flag charged in the canton, or by including maple leaves in the design. The Royal Union Flag is also an official flag in Canada, used as a symbol of Canada's membership in the Commonwealth of Nations, and of its allegiance to the Crown. The Union Flag remains a component of other Canadian flags, including the provincial flags of British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.[5]



The width of the Maple Leaf flag is twice the height. The white field is a Canadian pale (a square central band in a vertical triband flag, named after this flag), and each bordering red field is exactly half its size.[6] In the centre of the white field is a red maple leaf. In heraldry, the flag has been blazoned as "Gules on a Canadian pale argent a maple leaf of the first."[7] The blazon was registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on March 15, 2005.[8]

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