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National Flag of Canada Day in Canada

Quick Facts

Flag Day in Canada commemorates the inauguration of the Canadian national flag, which features a red maple leaf on a red and white background.

Local names

NameLanguage
National Flag of Canada DayEnglish
jour du drapeauFrench
Tag der NationalflaggeGerman

National Flag of Canada Day 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

National Flag of Canada Day 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015
List of dates for other years

The national flag of Canada was inaugurated on February 15, 1965. The anniversary of this date is officially called the "National Flag of Canada Day", which is often shortened to "Flag Day".

Flag Day in Canada commemorates the inauguration of Canada's national flag.

©iStockphoto.com/Karen Massier

What do people do?

The Canadian national flag, also known as the "maple leaf flag", is flown on many buildings, including private homes on National Flag of Canada Day. Some people wear pins in the form of the flag. Many schools often hold special lessons on the Canadian national flag and its history around this time of the year.

Special public events are held in some years. For example, one million flags were distributed in the "One in a Million National Flag Challenge" in 1996 so Canadians could display them on Flag Day in 1997. Celebrations were held in 2005 for the 40th anniversary of the flag’s inauguration. Some businesses distributed flags or decorated buildings with large versions of the red and white maple leaf flag. There has been a movement to make Flag Day a national statutory holiday recently.

Public life

Flag Day is not a statutory holiday in Canada. Schools, organizations, businesses and stores are open and public transport services run to their normal timetables.

Background

The Royal Union Flag, which is also the flag of the United Kingdom, was used as the official flag of Canada until 1965. Various designs of the Canadian Red Ensign were used between 1868 and 1965 but Canada’s Parliament never officially adopted them. The National Flag of Canada’s current design results from a period of discussion, debate and political maneuvering in the early 1960s.

George F.G. Stanley designed the current flag, which is inspired by the Royal Military College of Canada’s flag. The multi-party parliamentary committee formed to select a new flag unanimously chose the design on October 29, 1964. The House of Commons passed the design on December 15, 1964. Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed the new flag on January 28, 1965, and it was inaugurated on February 15 in the same year.

Symbols

The most important Flag Day symbol is the national flag of Canada. This consists of two vertical red sections separated by a white section, with an image of a red maple leaf on the white section. The whole flag is twice as wide as it is high and each of the two red rectangles is twice as high as it is wide. The white section in the middle is a perfect square. However, the size of the maple leaf is not officially specified. The Ministry of Canadian Heritage issues instructions on the type of red ink to be used for making flags or printing images of them.

The image of the red maple leaf is not only used on flags, but also on Canadian postage stamps. It is also portrayed on pins and has even been marked out in red and white flowers along highways. Since 1973, the Parliamentary Flag Program has operated to promote and encourage Canadians to express pride in their national symbol. It enables senators and members of the House of Commons to distribute flags and flag pins to their constituents.

National Flag of Canada Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
ThuFeb 151996National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
SatFeb 151997National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
SunFeb 151998National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
MonFeb 151999National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
TueFeb 152000National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
ThuFeb 152001National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
FriFeb 152002National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
SatFeb 152003National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
SunFeb 152004National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
TueFeb 152005National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
WedFeb 152006National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
ThuFeb 152007National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
FriFeb 152008National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
SunFeb 152009National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
MonFeb 152010National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
TueFeb 152011National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
WedFeb 152012National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
FriFeb 152013National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
SatFeb 152014National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
SunFeb 152015National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
MonFeb 152016National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
WedFeb 152017National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
ThuFeb 152018National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
FriFeb 152019National Flag of Canada DayObservance 
SatFeb 152020National Flag of Canada DayObservance 

Other holidays in February 2014 in Canada

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