TIMELINES: Feb. 15, 1965, Queen Elizabeth II proclaims a new leafy flag for what former colony country?

February 15, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012


Feb. 15, 1965, Canada’s red maple leaf flag is raised above Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the first time following a formal proclamation from England’s Queen Elizabeth II. Development for what is today’s Canadian national flag begins with the formation of a parliamentary committee in 1946. The committee reviews over 2,500 submissions but cannot reach a consensus on how to replace the old flag: a British Union Jack in the upper-left and a crest occupying the right side. Pressure mounts again to decide on a flag as Canada’s centennial—1967—approaches. In December 1964, Parliament adopts the red and white maple leaf flag. Red and white became Canada’s official colors when King George V decided so in 1921. The meaning of the maple leaf flag is: “a Dominion that is the envy of the world.”


Last month, Bill C-288—legislation that would make it illegal to prevent someone from flying the Canadian flag in Canada—was debated in Parliament. Under the bill, as long as the flag is displayed in a “manner befitting this national symbol,” it would be a crime to prevent it. The sponsor of the bill, Conservative member of Parliament John Carmichael, defended it saying, “Bill C-288 acts to ensure that all citizens across all of Canada have the same right to fly the flag any day of the year.” MP Kennedy Stewart criticized the bill as a waste of money. “We have to think about every penny and we have to think about spending every penny wisely” and the flag issue is “not on the radar” for Canadians.