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Canada is celebrating the 50th birthday of its highly recognisable red and white flag.
The flag, with a single maple leaf at its heart, was first flown over Parliament Hill, Ottawa, on February 15, 1965.
It was raised at noon, watched by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, Parliamentarians and thousands of Canadians.
Until the flag was first raised, the only official national flag of Canada was Britain’s Royal Union flag (Union Jack). However, from around 1870 various forms of the Canadian Red Ensign were used on land and sea as Canada’s unofficial flag.
Proposals to change the flag date back to 1925, but they were unsuccessful until 1964 when a committee was formed to choose a new design.
The final design, picked from nearly 2,000 proposals, was approved by the House of Commons and the Senate and proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.
Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq said: “The creation of our national flag 50 years ago was a defining moment for Canada. Today, our flag is recognised internationally as a symbol of unity, peace and freedom and is a source of pride for all Canadians.
“As we approach Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, our government is proud to honour the historic sites, persons and events that have shaped Canada into the strong, proud and free country that it is today.”