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1497-1707
1627-1707
1534-1604
1604-1663
1663-1763
1763-1800
1801-1964
1868-1921
1921-1957
1957-1965
1965-present

St. George's Cross

The St. George’s Cross traces its history back to the legend of St. George, who became the patron saint of England in the late Middle Ages. It was the flag on John Cabot's ship, and used during the English colonization of the Americas before the Act of Union (1497-1707).

St. Andrew's Cross

St. Andrew's Cross (or the Saltire), named after the Christian apostle and martyr Saint Andrew, is the national flag of Scotland. It was used during the Scottish colonization of the Americas before the Act of Union (1621-1707).

Fleur-de-lis

The fleur-de-lis was a symbol of French sovereignty in Canada from 1534, when Jacques Cartier landed and claimed the New World for France, until the early 1760s, when Canada was ceded to the United Kingdom. (1534–1604)

French Civil Ensign

The Merchant Flag used by Smauel de Champlain and French merchants at sea (allowed only for Royal vessels). (1604–1663)

New France Flag

The flag of New France. The standard of King Louis XIV. It was used until Canada was ceded to the United Kingdom. (1663–1763)

Royal Union Flag

In the early 1760s, the official British flag was the two-crossed jack or the Royal Union flag (known more commonly as the Union Jack). It is a combination of St. George's Cross of England and St. Andrew's Cross of Scotland. (1763–1800)

Royal Union Flag

Following the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, the diagonal Cross of St. Patrick was incorporated with England's St. George's Cross and Scotland's Cross of St. Andrew. This gave the Royal Union flag its present-day configuration. (1801-1965)

Red Ensign

The Red Ensign included a fly bearing the arms of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1871. As new provinces entered Confederation, some mark of identification was incorporated into the shield. By 1921, it was made up of the coats of arms of the nine provinces then in Confederation. (1868–1921)

Canadian Red Ensign

In 1921, this unofficial version of the Canadian Red Ensign was changed by an Order in Council and the composite shield was replaced with the shield from the Royal Arms of Canada, more commonly known as the Canadian Coat of Arms. (1921–1957)

Canadian Red Ensign

In 1957, the Red Ensign was altered and changed the maple leaves on the Canadian Red Ensign from green to red. (1957-1965)

The Maple Leaf

The new Canadian flag was inaugurated on February 15, 1965, on Parliament Hill. Speaker for the senate, Maurice Bourget, spoke the following: "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." (1965–present)
1497-1707
1621-1707
1534-1604
1604-1663
1663-1763
1763-1800
1801-1964
1868-1921
1921-1957
1957-1965
1965-present
Interactive: Ryan McLarty/QMI Agency Sources: Reuters