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Symbols & Icons

National Flag

The National Flag of Canada was officially adopted in 1965. It is a red flag, twice as long as it is wide, with a white square at its center bearing a red maple leaf. Canada's official colors are red and white.

Maple Leaf

Long before the arrival of European settlers, the maple tree was a vital resource for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, who first tapped the sweet maple sap. Many historians believe the maple leaf first served as a Canadian symbol around 1700. The red maple leaf later became the centerpiece of the National Flag of Canada in 1965.

National Anthem

O Canada was proclaimed Canada's national anthem on July 1, 1980, 100 years after it was first sung on June 24, 1880. Go to the Canadian Heritage website to hear the song and read the lyrics.


During the time of European exploration, beaver pelts became an important part of the fur trade. The Hudson’s Bay Company shield included four beavers in its design and the beaver was featured in the armorial bearing of the City of Montréal when it was incorporated in 1833. Sir Sandford Fleming gave the beaver great prominence when he designed Canada’s first postage stamp, the Three Penny Beaver, in 1851. The beaver attained official status as an emblem of Canada in 1975.


Inukshuk is a traditional stone figure created by the Inuit. In the Arctic, these figures were used as hunting and navigation aids as well as message centers. The 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to be held in Vancouver and Whistler feature a stylized inukshuk in the official logo design.

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