Who we are – 2

Canadian Symbols

Numerous significant symbols, or things, occasions, and people, have unique significance for Canada. Together, they express our national identity and contribute to the explanation of what it means to be Canadian.

Since Confederation in 1867, when Canada became a constitutional monarchy, the Crown has served as a prominent representation of the Canadian state for more than 400 years. Since 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has served as the monarch of Canada and has commemorated numerous jubilees. The Canadian Forces, Parliament, the judiciary, the police, and other branches of the government are all represented by the Crown.

The red-white-red design of the current Canadian flag was chosen in 1965. The red and white colors have been linked to France and England since the middle Ages, and the design is taken from the flag of the Royal Military Kingston College. The Canadian Red Ensign served as the national flag of Canada for roughly 100 years before the Union Jack became the recognized Royal Flag. Additionally, each province and territory has an own flag that represents its particular traditions.

The most recognizable symbol of Canada is the maple leaf. Since the 1850s, it has been a part of Canadian uniforms and insignia. It was adopted by French-Canadians in the 1700s. It is also engraved on the grave markers of Canadian troops who died and were interred both domestically and abroad.

The fleur-de-lys, a lily blossom, was chosen as the emblem of French royalty by the country’s king in the year 496 and remained so for more than a thousand years, including the colonial period of New France. During Confederation, the fleur-de-lys was brought back and added to the Canadian Red Ensign. Quebec acquired its own flag in 1948, which has a cross and a fleur-de-lys on it.

Following World War I, the Canadian Coat of Arms and motto, “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” (from sea to sea), were adopted to symbolize national pride. Along with red maple leaves, the coat of arms has emblems for England, France, Scotland, and Ireland. The Canadian Coat of Arms can currently be found on money, official paperwork, and public structures.

The Gothic Revival style of architecture that was common during the reign of Queen Victoria is represented in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, which also honors French, English, and Aboriginal traditions. The structures were finished in the 1860s and suffered some damage from an unintentional fire in 1916. The Library is the only remaining original component of the Centre Block, which was rebuilt in 1922. To honor the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who lost their lives while serving Canada in battle or while performing their duties, the Peace Tower was finished in 1927. The Books of Remembrance, which include a list of the deceased’s names, are located in the Memorial Chamber of the Tower.


The most watched spectator sport in Canada is hockey, which is also known as the country’s winter sport. In the 1800s, ice hockey was created in Canada. The Stanley Cup, which the Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley, donated in 1892, is the ultimate prize in the National Hockey League. The 26th Governor General (and the first of Asian descent), Adrienne Clarkson, founded the Clarkson Cup in 2005 as a prize for women’s hockey. Many young Canadians participate in school-based, league-based, or street hockey games as their parents accompany them to the ice rink. Hockey cards have long been a pastime for young Canadians.