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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A maple leaf with its distinctive shape.

The maple leaf is the characteristic leaf of the maple tree, and is the most widely recognized national symbol of Canada.


Uses in Canada

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the settlements of New France had attained a population of about 18,000. Also by this time, the maple leaf had been adopted as an emblem by the French Canadians along the Saint Lawrence River.[1]

Its popularity with French Canadians continued, and was reinforced when, at the inaugural meeting of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste in 1834,[2] the maple leaf was one of numerous emblems proposed to represent the society. Speaking in its favour, Jacques Viger, the first mayor of Montreal, described the maple as "the king of our forest; ... the symbol of the Canadian people."

The Royal Standard of Canada showing a sprig of three maple leaves as part of the design.
The flag of Canada, featuring a stylized maple leaf in the centre.

The maple leaf slowly caught on as a national symbol: in 1868, it was included in the coat of arms of both Ontario and Quebec, and was added to the Canadian coat of arms in 1921. Historically, the golden maple leaf had represented Ontario, while the green maple leaf had representing Quebec.[3] In 1867, Alexander Muir composed the patriotic "The Maple Leaf Forever," which became an unofficial anthem in English-speaking Canada. From 1876 until 1901, the leaf appeared on all Canadian coins, and remained on the penny after 1901. During the First World War, badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Force were often based on a maple leaf design. The use of the maple leaf as a regimental symbol extended back to the 1800s, and Canadian soldiers in the Second Boer War were distinguished by a maple leaf on their sun helmets.

The maple leaf finally became the central national symbol with the introduction of the Canadian flag (designed by George F. G. Stanley) in 1965, which uses a highly-stylized eleven-pointed maple leaf, referring to no specific species of maple. Earlier official uses of a maple leaf design often used over 30 points and a short stem. The one chosen is a generic maple leaf representing the ten species of maple tree native to Canada—at least one of these species grows natively in every province.[4] The maple leaf is currently used on the Canadian flag, logos of various Canadian based companies and the logos of Canadian sports teams. Examples include Air Canada, the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL franchise and the Toronto FC soccer club. It is also used by the Federal Government as a personification and identifier on its websites.

Since 1979, the Royal Canadian Mint has produced gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion coins, which are officially known as Maple Leafs, as geometric maple leaves are stamped on them.

Other Uses

The U.S. city of Carthage, Missouri, is nicknamed "America's Maple Leaf City."[5]

The Italian city of Campobasso was known as the "Maple Leaf City", since during the Second World War the Canadian troops invaded the city and freed it from the Germans. Moreover the city has a huge variety of maples which can be found even in the streets.

The mascot of Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, is the Maple Leaf and the nickname for [[Goshen College]] sports teams is the Maple Leafs.[6]

In Estonia drivers who have not passed the skid pan test may not drive faster than 90 km/h and are obliged to have a visible green maple leaf sign on the vehicle to signal other drivers that they are inexperienced.

The maple leaf is also the coat of arms of Sammatti, Finland.


External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also maple leaf



Proper noun

Maple Leaf


Maple Leaf

  1. The flag of Canada
  2. The official bullion gold coin of Canada.


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