The maple leaf was an emblem of Canada long before it appeared as the centerpiece of the new flag. In fact, it may have been used to represent this country and its people as early as 1700. The maple leaf of the past was not always red, however, and did not always appear singly, facts which stamp designers have often recalled in their work.
Between 1876 and 1901, all Canadian coins bore images of the maple leaf, and the penny still does today. Its design, which has changed very little since 1937, depicts two leaves on a common twig. Similarly, since 1921, Canada's royal coat of arms have included three maple leaves, but in 1957 their colour was changed from green to red, to conform with the nation's official colours.
Canada Post's new coil domestic rate (49¢) maple leaf definitive stamp is a multi-coloured design created by Joe Gault. Its bright colours suggest power and strength, and a maple key superimposed over the leaf represents rebirth through the circle of life. The stamp's denomination appears planted at the bottom of the leaf, suggesting growth, both in nature and in the nation.