Canada’s strength lies in its unified diversity. The Maple Leaf flag is an important symbol in which all Canadians can justly take pride. Nevertheless, each individual province and territory also has its own unique history, culture, and traditions, reflected in its individual flag. The Royal Canadian Mint has recently released a new commemorative silver coin that shows all the flags of the provinces and territories in a colourful and attractive collage that demonstrates the richness and vibrancy of the country as a whole.
What Is the Significance of the Different Provincial and Territorial Flags?
Each of the 10 Canadian provinces and three territories has its own unique flag. The symbols and the colours of each represent important aspects of the history, the land, and the people of that province or territory. Most of the provincial and territorial flags are relatively new. Prior to the mid-1960s, most were represented by provincial or territorial variations on the Red Ensign flag, which bore the Union Jack in the corner and the province’s or territory’s coat of arms against the red field.
Today, two provinces still make use of the Red Ensign-style flag: Manitoba and Ontario. In the latter case, the official adoption of the modified Red Ensign as the provincial flag was the work of the premier in 1965, who objected to the adoption of the Maple Leaf flag as the national symbol and wanted to ensure that the Union Jack would fly over the province in some form forever.
For most of the rest of the provinces and the territories, the centennial of the Confederation was an opportunity to celebrate what made each unique and most adopted their own flags during the mid-20th century. Here are some interesting facts about some of the provincial and territorial symbols:
- Some provinces and territories, specifically Saskatchewan and Yukon, decided on their new flag design with a contest.
- The flag of Quebec reflects its history as a French colony by including the symbol of the fleur-de-lis.
- Prince Edward Island’s flag bears its coat of arms stretched out to fit a rectangular field. The three little trees represent its historic counties, while the big tree and the lion represent England.
- The name “Nova Scotia” literally means “New Scotland,” and the Cross of St. Andrew on the flag represents this heritage.
- The flag of Nunavut bears the North Star, a traditional symbol of this region, in the upper right-hand corner. It also bears an Inukshuk, a stone formation frequently made by the Inuit and holding symbolic significance. Because Nunavut is the newest territory, its flag is also the most recent.
- The flag of Newfoundland and Labrador is the newest of the provincial flags, which makes sense because it is also the most recent province to join the Confederation. The white of the stylized Union Jack represents the frozen north while the blue represents the sea.
- At one point, the western province of British Columbia was considered one of the farthest-flung points of the British Empire. The sun hovering near the bottom of the flag represents the old saying that the Empire was so huge that the sun never set on it.
What Is Unique About the Coin’s Design?
The coin features an accurate and complete map of Canada, including all the provinces and territories. Each region is represented by a colour recreation of its individual flag filling the space within its borders. The design of the flags has been modified so that each is instantly recognizable. The result is an eye-catching collage that reflects the vibrancy of the country as a whole while celebrating what is important to each province and territory.