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Flag History: The Maple Leaf flag became Canada's flag on 15 February 1965. Before this, Canada used the British Red Ensign with Canada's coat of arms on it. Flag experts say that the Red Ensign was defaced by the coat of arms.
Flag and heraldry experts also call the design of the flag a Canadian Pale. This is because the white stripe in the middle (called a pale in heraldry) was not the usual narrow stripe but was half the width of the flag. This was the first time a design like this was used.
On some days the Canadian government flies the Royal Union Flag next to the Maple Leaf Flag. The Royal Union Flag is the British Union Jack, and is a symbol that Canada is a member of the Commonwealth, and that Canada and Britain share a history and a monarch. The Queen of Great Britain, had some say in what the flag was to be. She thought that the maple leaf greatly represents the country of Canada.