The 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Flag to be Celebrated at the Royal Military College of Canada

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- By Captain Yvette Grygoryev

On February 15, 2015 we, as a nation, commemorate the 50th Anniversary of official adoption of the current design of the Canadian Flag. Our nation’s flag was forged here at the Royal Military College of Canada, which has now become the most recognizable symbol of our country.

In March of 1964 while viewing the college grounds from the top of the Mackenzie building Colonel, the Honourable George Stanley, who was at that time the Dean of Arts, first suggested to the Colonel, the Honourable John R.  Matheson, then Member of Parliament for Leeds, that the Royal Military College flag should form the basis for the national flag of Canada. At the centre, Stanley proposed, should be placed a single red maple leaf instead of the college emblem: a mailed fist holding a sprig of three green maple leaves. Colonel Stanley’s design was ultimately approved by parliament and by Royal Proclamation to be the symbol of our nation on February 15, 1965.

The official college flag is a design which also still flies today with bold bars of red on the outside and the college crest in the center. Its origins are uncertain, but it has been used since the end of the First World War, and was flown for important ceremonies like graduation and reunions. It has also flown from the clock tower at the college and on the flag pole on Point Frederick since 1960.

“It’s hard to describe in words how proud we are to be Canadians  and march under this great symbol that unites us all. Naturally we are even prouder that the concept for the design of the Canadian Flag was first raised here and comes from the design of the RMC Flag,” said Brigadier General Al Meinzinger, Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada. “Colonel, the Honourable George Stanley and Colonel, the Honourable John Matheson were inspired to create this amazing legacy. Now it belongs to all Canadians and has become much more than its roots,” he explained.

At the RMC and at other bases and units across the country you will see that this brilliant symbol flies from masts and flagpoles at every parade, is marched on at significant events, and is saluted every time someone passes it. You can see it worn proudly on the uniform of every serving member from coast to coast and around the world.

The Canadian Flag especially unites military personnel, no matter where in the world they may be serving and continues to inspire our serving men and women to face their tasks, missions and operations with bravery and courage knowing that it also connects them to every other Canadian.

"I had as comrades in my [World War I army] section men whose names were: Cameron, Kimora, English, Gleidenstein, de Chapin, O'Shaughnessy. We didn't fall in or fall out as Irish Canadians, French Canadians, Dutch Canadians, Japanese Canadians. We wore the same uniform, with the same maple leaf badge, and we were proud to be known as Canadians, to serve as Canadians and to die, if it had to be, as Canadians." – Lester B. Pearson

"I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind." - John Diefenbaker (From the Canadian Bill of Rights, July 1, 1960.)

An Officer Cadet flies the RMC college flag while skydiving.

Officer Cadets of the Royal Military College of Canada march on parade in front of the historic MacKenzie building. The Canadian Flag always waves from the flagpole at the top. Every military person is expected to salute the Canadian Flag every time they walk by in uniform.


The Flag for the Royal Military College of Canada has flown on the historic campus since the end of the First World War. It has the college crest with a chain mailed fist with a sprig of three green leaves. It features the motto ‘Truth, Duty, Valour'

The Canadian Flag flies from the flagpole on top of the MacKenzie Building clock tower. The building itself was built from 1876 until 1878.

Plaque with inscription: Near this Parade Square, in March 1964, while viewing the College Flag atop Mackenzie Building, Col. the Hon. G.F.G. Stanley, then Dean of Arts RMC, first suggested to Col. the Hon. J.R. Matheson, then MP for Leeds, that the RMC College Flag should form the basis of the National Flag. The two collaborated on a design which was ultimately approved by Parliament and by Royal Proclamation adopted as the National Flag of Canada as of the 15th of February 1965.

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