The Canadian Flag: What does it symbolize?

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Canada was colonized by both the French and the British. French ruled a great part of the territory from 1534-1763. The first settlement in Canada was Quebec founded by the French in 1608 and later became the capital of New France. After the seven years of war between France and Britain, the British won and after the Treaty of Paris, they took all french dominions in Canada. The first flag flown in Canada was St. George’s Cross which was carried by John Cabot when he reached Newfoundland in 1497. The second flag was the French coat of arms. The first sort of distinctive flag put in use for the dominion of Canada was the flag of the governor general which was essentially a union flag with a shield in its centre. Only in 1867, Canada got its first real flag when British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick were united into the dominion of Canada under the Canadian Confederation. There was now a need for a distinctive Canadian flag. In 1868, Canadians started to unofficially fly the Canadian red ensign, a red flag with the union jack flag at the top left corner and a composite shield of Canada in the lower right. The composite shield was later on replaced with the Canadian coat of arms. In 1924, the flag was made official on land and government buildings. In 1964, a committee with members of most parties was formed and each of them represented their ideas regarding how the flag should be. Over 2500 designs of flags were proposed by the Canadian people. Finally the proposal of a three striped flag with a maple leaf in the centre was approved by parliament. So this is the Canadian flag today, with white centre and two red stripes on each side which have been said to be inspired from the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada. The red maple leaf in the centre, which according to research was used as a symbol of Canada since the 1700s. In 1834, the first mayor of Montreal described the maple tree as the ‘King of our forest’. That hereby constitutes the Canadian flag.

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