A flag is considered more than an object. It is a patriotic symbol representing a region’s colours, values, beliefs, and history.
The Canadian Flag, also known as the Maple Leaf Flag, is represented by Canada’s official colours, red and white, two red bars and a white bar with a maple leaf in the middle- standing for peace, hope, and prosperity, and symbolizing the nation’s bountiful natural resources.
The Canadian Provincial Flags, along with the national flag of Canada, represent the individual provinces/territories of the country.
Interesting Facts To Know About Canadian Provincial And Territorial Flags
The provinces and territories have their distinctive flag, which is a somewhat recent addition to Canadian culture.
Many of the Canadian province’s flags were created after the nation achieved independence from Britain when the provinces were getting ready to celebrate a hundred years of independence.
1. Ontario Flag
The Red Ensign was authorized as Ontario’s flag to ensure the continued use of the little Union Jack on the top left corner as the provincial flag.
However, the bottom right corner of the flag would have the Ontario Coat of Arms. This was done to show allegiance to both Canada and Great Britain.
2. Alberta Flag
The present official flag of Alberta was submitted by the Social Credit Women’s Auxiliaries of the ASCL (Alberta Social League) as part of a call for an individual flag for Alberta.
It was approved as the provincial ‘banner’ on January 17, 1967, and was made the official provincial flag by the legislature on June 1, 1968.
3. British Columbia Flag
The British Columbia Flag is largely based on the province’s coat of arms and loosely depicts the Royal Union Flag.
It is believed that the setting sun on the flag is an old British symbol about a sun that never sets against the Pacific Ocean coast, which was one of the furthermost points of the British Empire during the earlier times.
4. Newfoundland And Labrador Flag
Like it was the last province to join the Confederation of Canada, the Newfoundland and Labrador flag is also the newest addition to the list of Canadian province’s flags to be created.
The design incorporates broad symbolism, including references to the Union Jack and ancient Beothuk and Innu ornamentation.
It was designed by local artist Christopher Pratt in 1980.
5. Manitoba Flag
Manitoba, like Ontario, uses the ensign style flags with the British flag on the upper left and the province’s coat of arms- consisting of the Cross of St. George at the top and a Buffalo, the animal, on the bottom right as its official provincial flag.
These two flags have continued to use the olden-style flag as a salute to the Union Jack.
6. New Brunswick Flag
The New Brunswick flag was a newer design, adopted in 1965, with a golden lion on a red field and a sailing ship below it as an acknowledgement of the province’s historic status as a major maritime trade and ship-building hub.
7. Saskatchewan Flag
Many of the Canadian province’s flags were created through competitions held for new flag designs.
Similarly, a competition held in 1968 resulted in the new Saskatchewan flag being designed by Anthony Drake and chosen as the official provincial flag, which was adopted on September 22, 1969.
The flag’s colours- yellow and green are a representation of the prairie provinces’ vast forests and grain fields in the north and south, respectively.
The upper left bears the provincial coat of arms shield, while on the right, the red lily, the provincial flower, is seen.
8. Quebec Flag
The post-establishment period of the Dominion of Canada saw Queen Victoria sign a royal warrant for the designation of provincial coats of arms for the four earliest provinces- Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
Quebec’s provincial flag was the first among the Canadian province’s flags to be created in 1948. It uses the fleur-de-lis and a white cross on a blue background, symbolizing the medieval banners of royal France.
This reflected Canada’s historic ties to France, where the flag’s genesis can be traced back.
9. Nova Scotia Flag
The provincial flag of Nova Scotia is, as a matter of fact, an inverted design of the Scottish flag- St. Andrew’s cross and the province’s coat of arms shield in the middle of the flag.
10. Prince Edward Island Flag
Like New Brunswick’s provincial flag, the Prince Edward Island Flag has the golden lion stretched out on a red field, which was featured on Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent’s coat of arms.
Below the lion are three oak saplings next to an oak tree, symbolizing the tree as mother England and the saplings as the three ancient counties of Prince Edward Island– embodying the provincial motto, “Parva sub ingenti”, which can be interpreted as the protection of small under the great.
This entire depiction is bordered by red and white, Canada’s official colours of the Maple Leaf Flag.
11. Yukon Flag
The Yukon flag, too, was a contest winner, officially adopted in 1968.
The flag has the territorial coat of arms in the middle on a white background, with a green bar on the left, characterizing forests, and a blue bar on the right, denoting the territory’s rivers and lakes.
12. Northwest Territories Flag
The Northwest Territories is similar to the Yukon flag, with two blue bars on each side of a white bar.
The blue bars stand for the territory’s lakes, rivers, oceans, and skies, whereas the white bar signifies the region’s ice and snow.
The territory’s coat of arms shield lies in the centre of the white bar.
Of more than 3000 flag designs, the design of 18-year-old Robert Bessant was chosen as the final flag design in a competition held in 1968 for the territory’s official flag.
13. Nunavut Flag
As Canada’s newest territory, the Nunavut flag was created in 1999, the same year as the territory’s formation, by a local artist.
The flag is divided, with the left half being gold and the right half being white in colour.
Taking up the centre of the flag is a red Inukshuk, a traditional stone structure used by the territory’s Natives as markings for sacred areas and as guiding points for travellers.
A blue star is seen in the top right corner of the Nunavut flag, which represents the North Star, traditionally used by travellers for navigation.
Though the Province’s Flags come second in precedence over the country’s national flag, they are a part of the nation’s rich culture.
They are a representation of important local symbols of each of the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada.
From the iconic maple leaf of Ontario to the maritime emblems of Nova Scotia, these flags stand as proud representatives of Canada’s diverse regions.
The flags have some fascinating stories behind them that reflect the rich history and unique characteristics of each province, which we must understand and appreciate.