Friday, February 15, 2008

O Canada!

It is hard to believe that a country could change its flag and adopt a completely new design without first having undergone a revolution, major political turmoil, or the assimilation of a new state or territory. But that is exactly what happened in Canada on February 15th, 1965.

First, some background. The maple leaf has been a symbol of Canada since the 1700s. It still remains a popular symbol of national pride; the 11-pointed maple leaf can be found on historical and current stamps, coins, and advertisements, as well as flags.

The modern Canadian flag, nicknamed the "Maple Leaf" flag, is readily identified by most people as the national flag of Canada. It was adopted by the Canadian House of Commons and Senate in December, 1964. After being approved by Queen Elizabeth II, February 15th, 1965 was set as the date in which it became the official flag of Canada.

Prior to this date, the Union Flag ("Union Jack"), and several variants, flew over Canada. The Union Jack flag, a symbol of the United Kingdom, remains an official flag and must be used on certain holidays and on certain monuments. But the Maple Leaf flag has been the official flag since 1965.

The Canadian Post Office produced this stamp to honor the selection of the new flag. The stamp was issued in 1965.

There is a whole branch of philately related to collecting flags on stamps called vexillophilately, meaning the study of stamps with flags or banners. If you would like more information, be sure to visit which has major listings for stamps bearing flags.

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