The easily-recognizable red-and-white Canadian flag was first flown on Parliament Hill on February 15, 1965. The simple yet bold design was suggested by Dr. George Stanley of the Royal Military College, with the stylized leaf a proud historical Canadian symbol. In researching which type of maple leaf would be appropriate for Canada’s national flag, the Honourable John Ross Matheson – a member of the 1965 Canadian Flag Committee – selected that of the hard sugar maple. Not only did this species of maple bear a handsome leaf, it was also familiar to the population and the Aboriginals of Canada – being a source of furniture, food and fuel. Today, it’s the centrepiece of a flag that represents all citizens of Canada – regardless of race, language, belief or opinion.
Canada’s national flag flutters once again in the newly-designed Flag definitive. For the past several years, our flag definitives have featured a fluttering or flapping flag set against various landscapes or familiar objects from diverse areas of the nation. Previous issues featured an iceberg, a lake, mountains and a shoreline, an office building, forests and prairies, and a seacoast. This year, design company Gottschalk & Ash International chose an inukshuk to balance out the stamp’s visual elements. An inukshuk is a figure of a human made of stones, originally used to scare caribou into an ambush. Today it’s used as a marker to guide travellers. The 1999 Nunavut stamp also included an inukshuk in its design, as did the selvage of the 1995 Arctic set.