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Five facts for National Flag Day

The raising of the Canada flag by RCMP Const. Patrick O’Neil.
The Canadian flag was flown for the first time 53 years ago today, Feb. 15, 1965. - File photo

For many people today, the Canadian red and white maple leaf flag is a symbol of pride.

For younger Canadians, it’s also the only one they’ve known for their country. The flag isn’t that old, however. It was introduced 53 years ago today, on Feb. 15, 1965.

Here are five fun facts to celebrate the anniversary:

1. In addition to the flag that was ultimately chosen, there were two other designs under consideration. One featured a red ensign with the fleur-de-lis and the Union Jack. The other flag had three joined maple leaves in between a blue border.

2. Red and white were proclaimed Canada’s national colours by King George V in 1921. The first appearance of the red, white and red combination was in the General Service Medal issued by Queen Victoria.

3. The Canadian flag is protected by the Trade-marks Act and cannot be used commercially without proper permission from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

4. The Canadian flag must be flown on its own pole and be higher than all other flags with the exception of the Queen's standard, the governor general's standard, the personal standards of members of the Canadian Royal Family or flags of the lieutenant governors.

5. An official ceremony was held for the new flag on Feb. 15, 1965 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The Red Ensign was lowered at the stroke of noon and the new maple leaf flag was raised. Renditions of “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen” were then sang by those in attendance.

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