From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The National Flag of Canada, popularly known as the Maple Leaf Flag (French: l'Unifolié "the one-leaved"), is a base red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a red stylized 11-pointed maple leaf.
Although the idea of a new design for the national flag had been discussed for decades in the 1900s, it was in the 1960s that the debate intensified and became a subject of considerable controversy. The principal political opponent of the change was former prime minister and then current leader of the opposition, John Diefenbaker, who made it his personal crusade not only for sentimental reasons but also for political advantage. Eventually, a multi-party parliamentary committee was established to select a new design. Through a period of study with some political manoeuvring the committee came up with the current design, which was created by George Stanley, inspired by the flag of The Royal Military College of Canada. The committee made its final selection on October 22, 1964.
Under the supervision of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, the new flag was adopted by the House of Commons on December 15, 1964 (the Senate added its approval two days later). It was officially proclaimed into law by Queen Elizabeth II on February 15, 1965. Since 1995, February 15 has been commemorated as National Flag of Canada Day.
Despite the preceding acrimony, the new flag was quickly embraced by the Canadian public, and internationally the flag quickly became a welcome marker of Canadians around the world.
The white centre is a device unique to Canada, blazoned a Canadian pale, being a pale 1/2 the width of the field rather than 1/3. (In heraldry, a pale is a vertical stripe.)
Flags of Canadian Provinces and Territories: