July 1

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Canada’s Birth: The British North America Act and the Creation of a Nation

Canada, cherished for its welcoming nature, beautiful landscapes, and rich cultural diversity, had its official flag more than 100 years after Confederation. On the auspicious occasion of the country’s centennial celebrations, on February 15th, 1965, the iconic red and white maple leaf flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The previous flag, the Canadian Red Ensign, had been used since 1868 but didn’t carry any unique national symbol. The change came about due to the strong push by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, who believed that Canada needed a flag that was distinctive, easily recognizable, and representative of its values and aspirations. After much debate and deliberation, a parliamentary committee selected the simple, elegant design featuring a red field with a white square at the center, emblazoned with a stylized eleven-pointed red maple leaf. This new insignia quickly became a symbol of Canadian pride and identity, a unifying symbol for a diverse nation that is celebrated both at home and abroad.