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The National Flag of Canada also known as the Maple Leaf flag celebrates its 50th birthday February 15th 2015. On this day 50 years ago in Parliament and many communities across Canada, the Red Ensign was lowered and the new Maple Leaf was put in its place. It took many years to get to this point with many discussions in Parliament and with Canadians across the country, to decide on the particulars of the new flag.  A committee was struck in 1925 to start researching the possibility of a national flag however this did not lead to any clear-cut decisions.  In 1946 another committee accepted designs from across the country but again nothing came from this project.

It wasn’t until 1964 when Lester B. Pearson was Prime Minister that the ball started rolling again on this topic.  With the Centennial of Canada fast approaching, the Prime Minister thought it was a good time to develop a national flag of Canada. This topic was not without controversy, with many people including members of the Legion opposing the idea of a new flag.  Veterans had fought under the Red Ensign and it was a symbol that they and others held dear.

The maple leaf emblem and the colours red and white were not new to Canadians.  The maple leaf was considered a Canadian emblem in the 1830s in Quebec as well as in the 1860s in the coats of arms for Quebec and Ontario.  The colours red and white were designated by King George V in 1921, in the proclamation of the Royal Arms of Canada — Canada’s coat of arms. Out of all of the designs that were submitted the committee chose the Maple Leaf.  It was approved in the House of Commons on December 15 1964, the Senate on December 17 1964, and proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, to take effect on February 15, 1965.

Below are flags and items from the Museum Strathroy-Caradoc’s collection, including representations of the Union Jack, the Red Ensign and the Maple Leaf.

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For more information visit the Government of Canada Canadian Heritage website

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About the Museum

Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened to the public in 1972. As a community museum we strive to preserve and tell the story of Strathroy-Caradoc, and inspire residents to explore and understand the community around them.

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