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Flag designer recalls controversy

The Story


Thirty years have passed since Canadians first raised George Stanley's flag design as their official national symbol. Stanley, a Rhodes scholar, war veteran and former New Brunswick lieutenant-governor, is now 87. His flag, celebrated by children in auditoriums today, once drew considerable controversy. In 1964 Stanley brainstormed ideas for flag designs with then-Liberal member of Parliament John Matheson, who advocated Stanley's final design in Parliament. Stanley says the controversy was so great, people threatened to kill him. One man told Stanley he was going to shoot him because of his maple leaf flag design. But Stanley stood firm. He says he knew even then that after a generation Canadians would accept his flag.

Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: Feb. 15, 1995
Guest(s): George Stanley
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Kas Roussy
Duration: 2:37

Did You know?


• Canadian soldiers wore maple leaves on their uniforms while abroad during both World Wars.

• Canada also used maple leaves for decorations during the Prince of Wales's 1860 visit.

• On Canada's flag, the maple leaf has 11 points. There is no significance to the number selected.

• Maple leaves appear on the coats of arms Britain granted to Quebec and Ontario in 1868 and on the royal arms of Canada proclaimed in 1921.


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