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Canada - Fact Sheet

Last modified: 2016-03-15 by rob raeside
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National flag and Ensign
[Flag of  Canada]

Queen's Personal Standard
[Queen's standard for Canada]

[Governor General flag - 1981 to 1998]

See also:



The Canadian Flag (colloquially known as The Maple Leaf Flag) is a red flag of the proportions two by length and one by width, containing in its centre a white square, with a single red stylized eleven-point maple leaf centred in the white square.

The colours red and white used in the Canadian flag are the same as those colours used in the Union Flag (of the UK). Red and white are the national colours of Canada since 1921 (when they were proclaimed by King George V on the recommendation of the Canadian Government). The heraldic description of the Canadian National Flag is : Gules on a Canadian pale argent a maple leaf of the first.1

Queen's Personal Standard for Canada

The Queen's standard is a banner of the arms of Canada in the quarters in the upper two thirds of the flag. These are: I, England (three leopards or (gold) in a gules (red) field); II, Scotland (a gules (red) lion in or (gold) field with something around it with fleurs-de-lis); III, Ireland (a or (gold) harp in an azure (blue) field); IV, France royal (three fleurs-de-lis or (gold) in an azure (blue) field). On the bottom field of the arms, are three maple tree leaves in a argent (silver) field). In the center of the flag, there is a big E in the center.2


On the Governor General's flag, there is only a lion with a crown on his head. His red tongue is out (lampasse de gueules in French) and his claws are red (arme de gueules). It is a "lion passant" (sideways), of course, like the English lion.

The red maple leaf he is holding in his right paw has yellow vein lines in the middle. The cloth he is standing on is white-red-white-red-white-red. The field is dark blue.3

Protocol Order

The flag of highest rank, is that of the Sovereign, who is also head of the British Commonwealth. Her flag is flown only on her places of residence and when at official functions within Canada. Other members of the royal family may be represented by their flags when in residence or on official duties in Canada, and then only the flag of the highest ranking royalty present.

Next in rank is the Governor-General, who is the Queen's representative. His flag is flown at residence and office and when on official functions. Similarly, there is the standard of the Lt. Governor, whose flag has highest rank in each Province. The rules governing the display of the Governor-General's flag apply here as well.

The order of next rank is the Canadian flag itself.4

Adoption Date and related information

The Canadian National Flag was adopted by the Canadian Parliament on October 22, 1964 and was proclaimed into law by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (the Queen of Canada) on February 15, 1965.5

State arms

[Coat of Arms of Canada]


1Peter Cawley, E-mail dated 25 May 1995.
2Joćo Madureira, E-mail dated 28 April 1998
3Jean-Luc Baronian, E-mail dated 1 May 1997
4Phillip Nelson, E-mail dated 18 June 1998

Artistic credits:

Flag of Canada by Martin Grieve
Queen's Personal Standard by Graham Bartram
Governor General by Zach Harden and Graham Bartram
Coat of Arms by Kevin Wharton

Flags of the World
January, 2006