|Part of a series on the|
|Culture of Canada|
Over the course of centuries, a multitude of national symbols and material items have arisen as uniquely Canadian or possessing uniquely Canadian characteristics. These symbols and items represent the culture of Canada—protectionism of that culture, identity, values, nationalism, and the heritage of its inhabitants.
Themes and symbols of nature, pioneers, trappers, and traders played an important part in the early development of Canadian symbolism. Modern symbols emphasize the country's geography, cold climate, lifestyles, and the Canadianization of traditional European and indigenous symbols.
A 2013 Statistics Canada survey found that more than 90% of those polled believed that the national flag and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were the top symbols of Canadian identity. Next highest were the national anthem ("O Canada"), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and ice hockey. A similar poll by Ipsos Reid in 2008 indicated that the maple leaf was the primary item that defines Canada, followed by ice hockey, the national flag, the beaver, the Canadarm, Canada Day, and Canadian Forces peacekeeping. A poll taken in 2022 determined that 55 per cent of respondents agreed the country's monarchy helps define Canadian identity and six in 10 felt it helps to differentiate Canada from the United States.
Further information: Canadian identity, Canadian values, and Canadian folklore
Canada’s most well known symbol is the maple leaf, which was first used by French colonists in the 1700s. Since the 1850s, under British rule, the maple leaf has been used on military uniforms and, subsequently, engraved on the headstones of individuals who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces. The maple leaf is prominently depicted on the country's current and previous flags and on the country's coat of arms (or royal arms). The maple leaf has also been seen on the penny before circulation of that coin was stopped in 2013. Canada's official tartan, known as the "Maple leaf tartan", consists of four colours reflecting those of the maple leaf as it changes through the seasons—green in the spring, gold in the early autumn, red at the first frost, and brown after falling.
Other prominent symbols include the national motto, A Mari Usque Ad Mare (From Sea to Sea), the sports of hockey and lacrosse, the beaver, Canada Goose, Canadian horse, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Rockies, the Canadian parliamentary complex, the Canadarm, and, more recently, the Canadianization of totem poles and Inuksuks, With material items such as Canadian beer, maple syrup, tuques, canoes, nanaimo bars, butter tarts, and the Quebec dish of poutine being defined as uniquely Canadian. A six-pointed, hexagonal snowflake used as the insignia for the Order of Canada has come to symbolize Canada's northern heritage and diversity. The country's institutions of healthcare, military peacekeeping, the national park system, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are seen as uniquely Canadian by its citizens.
The Crown, displaying traditional cross pattées and fleurs-de-lis, symbolizes the Canadian monarchy and appears on the coat of arms, the governor general's flag, the coats of arms of many provinces and territories; the badges of several federal departments, the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Military College of Canada, many regiments, police forces, on buildings, as well as some highway signs and licence plates. Also, the image of Queen Elizabeth II (Canada's erstwhile monarch) is on Canadian stamps, $20 bank notes, and all coins.
Further information: Canadian royal symbols
See also: List of Canadian provincial and territorial symbols
The following is a list of official and de facto symbols, as recognized by the government of Canada. They are not shown in any order of precedence.
|National flag||Official symbol as of February 15, 1965|
|Viceregal standard||Royal symbol adopted 1981 - current version 2005|
|Royal cypher||Royal symbol since 2022|
Most recent rendition 1994
|Royal symbol as of November 21, 1921|
|Canada wordmark||Official since 1972|
|Great Seal||De facto symbol since 1867 - (current version November 14, 1955).|
|Official since July 1, 1980 (song dates to 1880)|
"God Save the King"
|De facto Royal anthem that dates to 1745|
A Mari Usque Ad Mare
(From sea to sea)
|Officially adopted November 21, 1921|
|Official symbol as of November 21, 1921 by order of King George V|
|Official symbol since 1996|
|Additional national symbol||
|De facto symbol since 1700s|
North American beaver
|Official symbol since 1975|
|Official symbol since 2002|
|Officially adopted on May 12, 1994|
Ice hockey (winter)
|Officially adopted on May 12, 1994|
Maple Leaf Tartan
|Officially adopted on March 9, 2011|
|Royal Canadian Mounted Police||
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer
|De facto symbol since 1920|
|De facto symbol built between 1859–1927|
'O Canada' and 'God Save the Queen'/'Dieu sauve la Reine' were approved by Parliament in 1967 as Canada's national and royal anthems. However, legislation to this effect was passed only in 1980, and applied only to 'O Canada.'