The following words, spoken by the Honourable Maurice Bourget, Speaker of the Senate, adresses the symbolic meaning of our flag: “The flag is the symbol of the nation’s unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief or opinion.”
Red and white: Canada’s National Colours
History records that in the first crusade, Bohemund I, a Norman lord, had red crosses cut from his mantles and distributed to the 12,000 crusaders, who then wore them as a distinctive badge on their garments. In subsequent crusades, each nation was distinguished by a cross of a different colour. France long had a red cross on its banners while England used a white cross. Time and again in history, red and white are found as the colours of France or of England. Red and white were approved as Canada’s official colours in the proclamation of the royal arms of Canada in 1921 by King George V.
The stylized maple leaf was designed by Jacques St. Cyr, the proportions of the design were decided by George Bist, and the colors of the flag were defined by Gunter Wyszechi. The final flag was decided upon by the 15-member parliamentary committee, which is officially credited with the design. The design was approved by the House of Commons on December 15, 1964, and in the Senate on December 17, 1964, and proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on February 15, 1965.