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Canada - history of the flag (1907-1921)

Last modified: 2012-08-09 by rob raeside
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See also:

The Red Ensign

Chronology of the Canadian Blue and Red Ensigns

original text by Dean Tiegs - 21 December 1997, additions inserted at appropriate places.

Some information from "The Flags of Canada - chapter IV - the Canadian Ensigns" by Alistair B. Fraser.


01 September 1905

Creation of Saskatchewan and Alberta from part of the North-West Territories. Though created on the same date, protocol dictated that Saskatchewan symbols occupy a position superior to Alberta's on the Canadian Ensigns. In practice, the official order of precedence was often not followed in its entirety.
Dean Tiegs, 21 December 1997


31 March 1906

A royal warrant grants arms to British Columbia in their present form (avoiding the sun ever setting on the British Empire).
Dean Tiegs, 21 December 1997


25 August 1906

A royal warrant grants arms to Saskatchewan in their present form.
Dean Tiegs, 21 December 1997


30 May 1907

A royal warrant grants arms to Alberta in their present form. I have seen two photographs containing a symbol that, by process of elimination, must have been for Alberta, but completely unlike the Alberta arms. Unfortunately, the photos weren't good enough for me to discern any details. The symbol may have been a preliminary proposal for the Alberta arms that was ultimately rejected.
Dean Tiegs, 21 December 1997


Now that all provinces had been granted arms, it became possible to create a new version of the unofficial flag:

Unofficial flag, 1907-1924
[Canada - 1907 (unofficial)] image by Herman De Wael

This flag was presented both without and with the adornments that were found on the great seal. (Fraser)

Unofficial flag, 1907-1921
[Canada - 1907 (unofficial)] image by Herman De Wael

I was able to buy two old Canadian Red Ensigns from an antique dealer a few weeks back. The first one has the Union Flag in the canton and nine provincial crests under a crown and then surrounded by maple leaves (10 on each side) and a beaver at their junction at the bottom. The nine are:

  • row 1 : Ontario, Quebec, one with a fish and three thistles (Nova Scotia ?)
  • row 2 : New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island
  • row 3 : Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba.

Don Wheeler, 15 February 1998


I would date this between 1907 (when Alberta was granted arms) and 1921 (when the royal arms of the Dominion were proclaimed, replacing the multi-province shield).
Dean Tiegs, 15 February 1998

For more information, see:


04 May 1909

Establishment of the Royal Canadian Navy, which used the White Ensign (without any distinctive mark) as ensign and the Canadian Blue Ensign as jack.
Dean Tiegs - 21 December 1997


1911

Although the Royal Canadian Navy was established in 1909, the use of the White Ensign was not authorised until, provisionally, 03 March 1911, and confirmed 16 December. This also confirmed the use of a White Pendant.
D. Prothero, 22 December 1997


Canadian red ensign in Imperial War Museum
history continues