When flying our national flag, do you know the dos and don’ts?
First hoisted on Feb. 15, 1965, the Canadian flag is one of the most recognizable flags in the world, with its distinct pattern of red stripes and white centre with the striking red Maple Leaf.
Because it holds so much significance for many, there is mandatory decorum when hoisting our national flag.
According to the Canadian Government website, “The manner in which flags may be displayed in Canada is not governed by legislation but by established practice and convention.”
The Canadian Flag, also known as the “Red Maple,” may be flown day and night and does not need to be lighted while flying after sundown.
According to the government, here are the top dos and don’ts when flying the beautiful red maple leaf.
- Do fly the flag horizontally with the Maple Leaf pointing up. Or fly it vertically with the Leaf facing left. This way, the canton, the most important position on a flag, is located on the top left always.
- The flag should always be flown alone on its flagpole or mast.
- When the flag is raised or lowered or carried in a parade, everyone should face the flag, and men should remove their hats.
- A torn or faded flag should be replaced with a new one. The old one should be destroyed in a dignified way. (See below on how to dispose of a flag).
- When flying the flag on a car, it should be placed on the front right fender.
- When displaying the flag on a building, at an angle from a window or balcony, the canton should be at the nearest point to the top of the flagpole. The top point of the maple leaf pointing outward from the building, its stem toward the building.
- The National Flag of Canada should be treated with respect.
- Don’t fly the flag vertically with the Maple Leaf pointing right. This will cause the canton to be on the upper right, which is not considered appropriate.
- The National Flag should not be written on or marked in any way.
- Nothing should be pinned on or sewn on the flag.
- The flag should never be dipped or lowered to the ground to pay tribute to someone or something.
- The flag should never be used as a tablecloth, seat cover, or barrier on a stage or platform.
The Government of Canada website notes, “A flag is considered to be worn when the colour has faded, it has developed a hole or the outermost seam (fly) of the flag has become frayed.”
Once your flag has become tattered and is no longer suitable for use, it should be disposed of in a dignified manner.
The disposal of a flag may be handled in the following manner:
- Flags made of natural fibres (wool, cotton, linen) should be burned in a dignified manner, privately, without ceremony or public attention being drawn to the destruction of the material.
- Flags made of synthetic material (nylon or polyester) should not be burned due to environmental damage and potential fire hazards. These lags should be respectfully torn into strips, with each flag element reduced to a single colour, so the remaining pieces do not resemble a flag. The individual pieces should then be placed in a bag for disposal – the shreds of fabric should not be reused or fashioned into anything.
Did You Know?
Did you know that since 1996, Feb. 15th is National Flag Day? The flag on the Peace Tower is changed every weekday, and flags on the East and West blocks are changed once a week. All flags are changed once they have been flown at half-mast. Canadian residents can request to receive one of the flags previously flown on Parliament Hill here.
For more information on flying your Canadian Flag, visit here.