Canadian Flag Turns 50 Today

This is Canada, it says, in beaming white and red, and today the National Flag of Canada turns 50. That fact led me to the Internet to do a search of interesting things about our flag … here is what I found …

On February 15, 1965 Canada’s new red and white Maple Leaf flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. This is the only flag I can remember … although I have to admit I was born a little before 1965 🙂

In 1921, King George proclaimed the Canadian flag’s official colors. The color red was taken from the Saint George’s Cross and is a symbol of Canadian sacrifice during the World Wars. The color white is from the French royal emblem and is a symbol of peace and tranquility reflecting neutrality and impartiality of Canadians

The eleven points on the maple leaf have no significance. Many people believe they stand for Canada’s provinces, plus the federal government, but the emblem is just a recreation of an actual maple leaf.

The flag at the Peace Tower in Ottawa flies twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. A designated Parliament Hill building employee who receives training on how to perform the task changes it daily, usually early in the morning. The Peace Tower flag is 2.25m (7.38F) by 4.5m (14.76F), the flag is always twice as long as it is wide.

I didn’t realize you could buy one of the flags that had flown on the Peace Tower, but if you want one you will have to be patient because there is a 10-year waiting list. The wait for a flag flown on the East or West Block of Parliament Hill is only five years.

Flag etiquette stipulates that when the National Flag of Canada is raised or lowered, or when it is carried in a parade or review, all present should face the flag, men should remove their hats and all should remain silent. Those in uniform should salute.

When the National Flag of Canada flies along with the flags of the 10 provinces and 3 territories, the flags of the provinces and territories follow in the order that they entered Confederation.  The National Flag of Canada should always be flown on its own mast as flag protocol dictates it improper to fly two or more flags on the same mast

The National Flag of Canada is flown at the half-mast position as a sign of mourning. The flag is brought to the half-mast position by first raising it to the top of the mast then immediately lowering it slowly to the half-mast position.

If the National Flag of Canada is tattered and no longer suitable to fly, proper etiquette calls for a dignified destruction. The suggested way to do this is by burning it privately. We always burn our tattered flags in our campfire with everyone standing in silence.

Until next time …


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