History of the National Flag of Canada
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The flag of Canada is a vertical triband of red (hoist-side and fly-side) and white (double width) with the red maple leaf centred on the white band.
The maple leaf has long been a Canadian symbol. Long before the arrival of the first European settlers, Canada’s Aboriginal peoples had discovered the edible properties of maple sap. In 1860, at a public meeting held in Toronto, the maple leaf was adopted as the national emblem of Canada for use in the decorations for the Prince of Wales’ visit. Red and white were designated as Canada’s official colours in 1921 by His Majesty, King George V, in the proclamation of the Royal Arms of Canada.
In 1982, Laurie Skreslet, a skier from Calgary, took the Canadian flag to the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest.
In 1984, the Canadian flag reached new heights when it blasted into space on the flight mission uniform of Marc Garneau, the first Canadian astronaut in space.
The Canadian Flag is result of the contribution of many, extending over a century. The process of choosing the design however, was a long one that stirred national debate.
The process began in 1895 when heraldry enthusiast Edward M. Chadwick recommended to the Government that Canada should have its own national flag featuring a maple leaf. Almost 30 years later in 1925, a committee of the Privy Council began to research possible designs. However, the committee never completed its work. A parliamentary committee was given a similar mandate in 1946, but Parliament was never called upon to formally vote on the more than 2,600 designs received.
Early in 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson informed the House of Commons that the Government wished to adopt a distinctive national flag. As a result, a Senate and House of Commons Committee was formed and submissions were called for once again.