OTD: Canada adopts new national flag

On today’s date in 1964, the “Great Canadian Flag Debate” ended with the adoption of the now-iconic maple leaf design as the country’s new national flag.

After about 250 speeches, the final vote to adopt the maple leaf flag took place at 2:15 a.m. on Dec. 15, 1964.

On Jan. 28, 1965, Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed the new flag, which was inaugurated about two weeks later at an official ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Earlier in 1964, after about three months of debate, the House of Commons appointed a 15-member committee to study and recommend a new Canadian flag design. The committee comprised seven Liberals, five Conservatives and one each from the New Democratic Party, the Social Credit Party and the Ralliement créditiste, another federal social credit party based in Québec. Over six weeks, the committee held 35 meetings while the public submitted more than 3,500 suggestions for the country’s new flag in what would become known as the Great Canadian Flag Debate.

Ultimately, a design by historian George Stanley was chosen for the new design after a 163-78 vote in the House of Commons.

The Mint also issued a $25 Fine silver coin to commemorate the national flag’s 50th anniversary.


In 2015, to mark the flag’s 50th anniversary, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a series of commemorative and circulating coins, including a 25-cent piece designed by Bonnie Ross.

The reverse of the 25-cent circulation coin features an illustration of Canada’s national flag surrounded by 50 children, each representing one of the flag’s 50 years as well as Canada’s future. The words “50 years/ans” also appear at the bottom centre of the design.

Out of a total of mintage of 12.5 million coins, 6.25 million were coloured and an equal number were non-coloured. They began circulating nationally as of June 9, 2015.

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