February 15th, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Flag. This year, National Flag of Canada Day, also known to many simply as Flag Day, falls on a Sunday. This holiday commemorates the inauguration of what has become one of the most symbolic representations of the entire Canadian nation. As we all know, the Canadian flag features a red maple leaf on a white square, bordered by a red strip along either end.
Today, the Canadian flag can be found flying high in the air throughout the year on several different occasions, such as at sporting events like the Olympics, public performances, parades, and plenty of other ceremonies that play a significant role in the lives of Canadians. In fact, our National flag has become so popular amongst the twenty-first century and modern civilizations, that it has become a familiar sight to both those of us living within the country and to others living in different parts of the world. But, it has not always been this way. Looking more into the history of how the Canadian National Flag came to be, it is true that before 1965, Canada did not have a specific flag that was used to represent the country as a whole. Instead, between 1868 and 1965, the Royal Union Flag, the United Kingdom Flag, was used, along with several other variations that did not quite capture the essence of Canada. Then, in 1965, George Stanley designed the current flag.
The flag was proclaimed by Queen Elizabeth II, and then inaugurated on February 15th, 1965, 50 years ago. Reflecting on our National Flag, as a Canadian, I began discussing with others the symbolism behind the chosen flag, and how it is interpreted by those of us living under it’s banner. For many of us, the Maple Leaf Flag represents all citizens of Canada without distinction between race, language, belief or opinion, and means that there will always be freedom, diversity and comfort for everyone. The maple leaf itself, and the colours of the flag, portray the beauty and independence of the maple trees that can be found from coast to coast, as well as the bravery, strength, honesty, tolerance and unity that differentiate Canada from other global places. Another common response I received, that I agreed with, was the fact that for all of us living here, the flag symbolizes our home, where the pure beauty of nature can co-exist with urban evolution in one country peacefully. It is the land of the free. In the end, it was really this flag that promoted and encouraged us Canadians to express our national pride, which lead to the shaping of Canada into what it is today.