• Short Summary

    Ottawa, February 15th, 1965
    Canada's new maple leaf flag -- one which Prime Minister Lester B.Pearson?

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Ottawa, February 15th, 1965
    Canada's new maple leaf flag -- one which Prime Minister Lester B.Pearson said all would fly with pride -- was formally raised on Parliament Hill at noon today against a background of ceremonial pomp and the echoing boom of a 21-gun salute.Ceremonies were held in Provincial Capitals across Canada, in cities, towns, villages and hamlets across the nations; at Canadian posts abroad; the United Nations and NATO Headquarters; ships at sea and all military establishments and cemeteries abroad.

    Canada has had a legal and widely recognized flag abroad -- the Canadian Red Ensign -- but no finally accepted flag for use at home until today -- in the eight month of our 98th year as a Confederation.

    Since 1924, the Canadian Red Ensign has had a legal recognition abroad, as Parliament enacted a law providing for the wearing of it over any Canadian building abroad.It has been carried by Canadian teams in the Olympic games, carried proudly in battle by Canadian Forces in the Second World War, and from the earliest days of the United Nations has been recognised as the symbol of Canada.The Red Ensign is the traditional flag of the British Merchant Marine.To this, in 1924, was added the Cost of Arms of Canada in the fly to become the Canadian Red Ensign.

    In December, 1964, the Canadian Parliament decided upon a flag and, on the advice of the Government of Canada, Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, was pleased to issue a Proclamation declaring ":as the National Flag of Canada, upon , from and after the fifteenth day of February, in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and sixty-five, a red flag of the proportions two by length and one by width, containing in its centre a white square the width of the flag, bearing a single red maple leaf or, in heraldic terms, described as 'pale argent a maple leaf of the first'".

    Our film footage includes excerpts from the ceremonies held in the Hall of Fame (in the Parliament Buildings) beginning with the arrival of Their Excellencies General the Rt.Hon.Georges P.Vanier and Madame Vanier who were received by the Prime Minister (the Rt.Hon.Lester B.Pearson) and other Parliamentary officials; the signing of O Canada by a group of 16 school children from the choirs of the Public and Separated Schools of Ottawa; speeches by His Excellency the Governor General and the Prime Minister and a shot of the Proclamation.In the words of His Excellency the Governor General "it is singularly appropriate that we should find ourselves in the Hall of Fame to inaugurate a Canadian flag and to mark the last official use of the Red Ensign which for many years has served as such".The Prime Minister, in his moving speech said in part, "..the new Flag, joining and rising above the milestones of our history, today takes for the first time its proud place as the emblem of Canada, 'The Maple Leaf our Emblem dear'".

    Following the speeches, the ceremonies moved to outside the Parliament Buildings where a dais had been constructed in front of the Peace Tower and where the Canadian Red Ensign was flying on a special flagpole.

    A short fanfare was sounded by the Trumpeters, the Deputy Registrar General of Canada (Mr.Jean Miquelon) read the Proclamation, and the 100-man Guard of Honour ( of the 2nd Canadian Guards) presented arms.The Canadian Red Ensign was lowered, received and held by the representatives of the Armed Forces while brief prayers were said by the Chaplains General of the Armed Forces, then it was carefully folded and taken away.The Maple Leaf Flag was brought to the base of the flag pole, unfolded, and dedicated by the Chaplains General of the Armed Forces, fastened to the halyard and raised (all Maple Leaf Flags in Ottawa were raised simultaneously and our footage includes the raising of one on the East Block of the Parliament Buildings).The Guard of Honour presented arms, a 21-gun Salute was sounded, O CANADA and GOD SAVE THE QUEEN played by a military band, and then His Excellency the Governor General received a Royal Salute, and departed.Following the departure of the Governor General.the Royal Standard ( marking the presence of the Governor General in the Parliament Buildings) which had been flying atop the Peace Tower was lowered, and the Red Maple Leaf Flag was raised on the Peace Tower.

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