February 15: The Maple Leaf

canadian-flagBefore this day in 1965, the official flag of Canada was the British Union Flag. The Canadian Red Ensign flag had been used since the 1890s as a way of distinguishing Canada from its imperial rulers. However as Canada began to form a stronger national identity and started to make moves towards true independence from Great Britain, a more distinctly Canadian flag was needed. So, on Februrary 15, 1965, the  maple leaf flag design by George Stanley and John Matheson made its official debut. Now, February 15 is celebrated in Canada as Flag Day.

Stanley and Matheson based their design on the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada.  The iconic maple leaf is a symbolic representation of Canada’s nature and environment. The colors red and white had been established by King George V as the national colours of Canada in 1921 as representative of the nation’s dual origins: Red for the St. George’s Cross associated with England and white for the color of the fleur-de-lis associated with French royalty. There’s no symbolic meaning to the 11 points of the maple leaf. Amusingly, this version of the maple leaf emblem was selected because when it and other maple leaf designs were tested under high wind conditions, it was the least blurry.

There’s really only one cocktail that we can drink to celebrate Canada’s Flay Day; a Maple Leaf. It’s a neat mix of whiskey, maple syrup and lemon juice. Although this drink is supposed to be made with bourbon, I think on an occasion such as this, we should make it with Canadian whiskey.

Maple Leaf

  • 2 ounces Canadian Whiskey
  • 3/4 ounces maple syrup
  • 3/4 ounces lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into an ice filled rocks glass.

Tomorrow: The Dear Leader

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