NATIONAL FLAG DAY OF CANADA
National Flag of Canada Day commemorates the official birth of the Maple Leaf Flag, installed on February 15th, 1965. Canadians celebrate the day by wearing red and white, raising their flag high and paying tribute to the big leaf!
Although Canada gained its independence from Great Britain back in 1868, they continued to incorporate elements of the British flag into their own design. By the middle of the 20th century, Canada was well aware that its flag needed updating.
It wasn’t until Colonel George Stanley, a renowned public servant of Canada became earnest about redesigning the flag that it eventually sparked a national debate among citizens. Stanley’s vision for Canada’s flag was simple, easily recognizable and served as a rallying symbol for unity.
Queen Elizabeth II announced the flag’s inauguration on Parliament Hill after the House of Commons voted the decision 163 to 78. Much later in 1996, the Canadian government chose to observe Flag Day for themselves. Today is an opportunity to remember and educate others on the power and beauty that a nation’s flag may hold.
“Our flag dares us to press on with the unfinished work of our country: to be ever more free and fair, just and inclusive; to be keener of mind and kinder of heart. … Amazing what the right flag — your flag, our flag — can do.” ~ Former Canadian Governor-General David Johnson
HOW TO OBSERVE
Do what Canadians do! Locate your nearest ice rink, indulge in some maple syrup and don’t forget to be a little extra polite! Ask your Canadian friend to say, “out and about!” Figure out who’s the better Ryan from Canada…Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds?
Wave your Canadian flag and share it on social media using #CanadianFlag.
Canada celebrated the first National Flag Day of Canada in 1996. While the country does not recognize federally recognize the day, each province decides if the holiday is celebrated in their jurisdictions. Various bills have been presented to parliament over the years to declare Flag Day a statutory holiday, but none have been successful.
In 1996, when Quebec first recognized National Flag of Canada Day, protests broke out at the ceremony in Hull. At one point during the protests, the then Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, made his way through the crowds and grabbed one protestor by the neck, pushing him aside. Because Chrétien hails from Shawinigan, this action has become known in Canada as a Shawinigan handshake. It even has a beer with the same name.
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