February 15

This Day in History

General Interest

Feb 15, 1965:

Canada adopts maple leaf flag

In accordance with a formal proclamation by Queen Elizabeth II of England, a new Canadian national flag is raised above Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

Beginning in 1610, Lower Canada, a new British colony, flew Great Britain's Union Jack, or Royal Union Flag. In 1763, as a result of the French and Indian Wars, France lost its sizable colonial possessions in Canada, and the Union Jack flew all across the wide territory of Canada. In 1867, the Dominion of Canada was established as a self-governing federation within the British Empire, and three years later a new flag, the Canadian Red Ensign, was adopted. The Red Ensign was a solid red flag with the Union Jack occupying the upper-left corner and a crest situated in the right portion of the flag.

The search for a new national flag that would better represent an independent Canada began in earnest in 1925 when a committee of the Privy Council began to investigate possible designs. Later, in 1946, a select parliamentary committee was appointed with a similar mandate and examined more than 2,600 submissions. Agreement on a new design was not reached, and it was not until the 1960s, with the centennial of Canadian self-rule approaching, that the Canadian Parliament intensified its efforts to choose a new flag.

In December 1964, Parliament voted to adopt a new design. Canada's national flag was to be red and white, the official colors of Canada as decided by King George V of Britain in 1921, with a stylized 11-point red maple leaf in its center. Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed February 15, 1965, as the day on which the new flag would be raised over Parliament Hill and adopted by all Canadians.

Today, Canada's red maple leaf flag is one of the most recognizable national flags in the world.

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