The History of the Canadian Maple Leaf
July 1st is Canada Day and we will be celebrating all things Canada (because we are Canadian, in case you didn't know!). Besides ice hockey and the snow, one of the first things that come to mind when we think of Canada is the maple leaf, specifically a red maple leaf. It is the most recognized symbol of Canada.
According to historians, the maple leaf became a symbol of Canada as early as the 1700s.
In 1834, the St. Jean Baptiste Society, a French Canadian
association founded to strengthen their linguistic and cultural heritage,
made the maple leaf its emblem. Jacques Viger, the first mayor of
Montreal, Quebec described the maple as "the king of our forest; ... the
symbol of the Canadian people."
Two years later, in 1836, Le Canadien, a newspaper published in Lower Canada, suggested that the maple leaf would be a suitable emblem for Canada.
In 1848, The Maple Leaf, a Canadian literary annual published in Toronto, ON, announced the maple leaf as the chosen emblem for Canada.
By 1860, the maple leaf was used in the Royal Canadian 100th
Regiment Badge. It was also used extensively in decorations when the
Prince of Wales visited that year.
In 1867, Alexander Muir wrote the confederation song, The Maple Leaf Forever, which became the national song for the next few decades.
In 1868, both Ontario and Quebec's coat of arms included the
maple leaf. Historically, the golden maple leaf represented Ontario,
while the green maple leaf represented Quebec.
From 1876-1901, the maple leaf appeared on all of Canada's coins, including the penny, nickle, dime and quarter. While today's coins no longer feature the maple leaf, the penny, when it was in circulation until 2012, always depicted the maple leaf on the coin, which made the penny an historic icon of Canada's past.
The maple leaf isn't just something we look at. We often wear it as a badge on our clothes to show our love for our country. Starting in 1904, Canadian athletes competing in the Olympic Games wore shirts that displayed the maple leaf. In World Wars I and II, the maple leaf was displayed on Canadian soldiers’ caps, badges, and military equipment.
The maple leaf has always been popular, especially since 1965 when the maple leaf appeared on the national flag. The flag is red and white, featuring a red 11-pointed maple leaf in the center of the flag with one red stripe to the left and one on the right against a white background. On February 15, 1965 the red maple leaf flag was inaugurated as the National Flag of Canada. The maple leaf on the flag is a generic maple, representing the 10 species of maple trees native to Canada.
Today, the maple leaf is often used by Canadian organizations, businesses and sports teams as part of their logo and identity. The maple leaf says "We are Canadian."
So that's the history of the Canadian maple leaf! From all of us at Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers, Happy Canada Day!
- Provincial and National Flowers of Canada (funflowerfacts.com)