The Great Canadian Flag Project
Reprinted from Flag of Canada
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This article is about the national flag of Canada. For other Canadian flags, see List of Canadian flags.
Name The Maple Leaf, l'Unifolié
Use National flag, civil and state ensign
Adopted February 15, 1965
Design A vertical bicolour triband of red, white, and red in the ratio 1:2:1, with a red maple leaf charged in the centre
Designed by George F.G. Stanley
The National Flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf and l'Unifolié (French for "the one-leafed"), is a flag consisting of a red field with a white square at its centre, in the middle of which is featured a stylized, 11-pointed, red maple leaf. Adopted in 1965 to replace the Union Flag, it is the first ever specified by statute law for use as the country's national flag.
The Canadian Red Ensign had been unofficially used since the 1890s and was approved by a 1945 Order in Council for use "wherever place or occasion may make it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag".
In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson formed a committee to resolve the issue, sparking a serious debate about a flag change. Out of three choices, the maple leaf design by George Stanley, based on the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada, was selected. The flag made its first official appearance on February 15, 1965; the date is now celebrated annually as National Flag of Canada Day. There is no law dictating how the flag is to be treated. However, conventions and protocols do guide how the flag is to be displayed and its place in the order of precedence of flags in Canada.
Many different flags have been created for use by Canadian officials, government bodies, and military forces. Most of these flags contain the maple leaf motif in some fashion, either by having the Canadian flag charged in the canton, or by including maple leaves in the design. The Royal Union Flag is also an official flag in Canada.