It's the flag some Americans sew on their backpack to try to identify themselves as non-Americans when traveling to Europe.
The maple leaf flag — the red and white with the red maple leaf — might seem like it's been around for a long time, but many are surprised to realize that flag celebrated its 50th anniversary yesterday.
The Union Jack dominated the Canadian flag from 1868-1965. The above flag reigned from 1957-1965; the major difference from the flag that flew from 1921-1957 was that the red leaves at the bottom of the coat of arms were green.
The three-leaves pattern was suggested by Prime Minister Lester Pearson for the new flag with blue on the sides instead of the red in the current Canadian flag.
Ultimately, Canada ended up with a stylized 11-point singular red maple leaf in its center where the sides were red.
Urban legend: the points of the maple leaf were supposed to represent the 10 provinces, but there are 11 points and 10 provinces. At the time of the flag, there were 10 provinces and 2 territories (now 3).
The loss of blue was intriguing from a political standpoint. Red is associated with the Liberals, the dominant party in recent times until 2004. Blue is the Conservatives colour. The NDP, only now the opposition party, has orange for its colour.
The Canada flag was the subject of Final Jeopardy in an episode that aired in June 2011.
"'L'Unifolie' is one of the names popularly given to the new flag unveiled in 1965 by this country."
Full disclosure: I know one of the contestants in that episode.
The modern Canada flag is simple, memorable, and distinctly Canadian. Bon anniversaire, drapeau du Canada. Happy birthday, Canadian flag.
graphics credit: Wikipedia