Today the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) is holding a Flag Day Parade to commemoration the 50th Anniversary of Canada’s national flag.
What has become a recognizable symbol for Canada was inspired by RMCC’s flag, which has flown proudly since the end of the First World War. Proclaimed in 1965, the Canadian flag hangs in arenas, stadiums and graces flag poles across our country.
“It’s hard to describe in words how proud we are to be Canadians, to march under this great symbol that unites us all. Naturally we are even prouder that the concept for the design of the Canadian Flag was first raised here and comes from the design of the RMCC flag,” said Brigadier General Al Meinzinger, commandant, Royal Military College of Canada.
Back in March 1964 while viewing the RMC grounds from the top of the Mackenzie building Colonel George Stanley, the dean of arts at the time, suggested to Colonel John R. Matheson, then Member of Parliament for Leeds, that the RMCC flag should form the basis for the national flag of Canada.
Stanley proposed the new flag should be red and white and feature a single red maple leaf in the centre, rather than the college emblem, which has a mailed fist holding a sprig of three green maple leaves.
The suggestion was followed by Stanley’s memorandum on March 23, 1964 in which he warned any new flag must avoid the use of national or racial symbols that are of a divisive nature and that it would be clearly inadvisable to create a flag that carried either the Union Jack or a fleur-de-lis. The new flag was designed with the aim to keep Quebec in the Canadian Union.
The design Stanley came up with and took to Ottawa was ultimately approved by Canadian Parliament, then by Royal Proclamation to be the official Canadian flag on February 15, 1965.
During today’s parade, the official flag of RMCC will fly from the MacKenzie Building clock tower, and the original red ensign will fly on the jack staff at the dais.
The red ensign will then be ceremoniously lowered and replaced with the present-day Canadian flag, forged in large part at RMCC.
“Colonel George Stanley and Colonel John Matheson were inspired to create this amazing legacy. Now it belongs to all Canadians and has become much more than its roots,” said Meinzinger.
Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members are united by the flag, no matter where in the world they are serving they salute the red maple leaf. It is worn proudly on the uniform of every serving CAF member from coast to coast.
The 50th Anniversary of the flag in 2015 is a special milestone on the road to 2017, when Canadians will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation.