Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag turns 59 today: Persuasive presentation in action.

February 15th, 1965… that’s when Canada’s iconic Maple Leaf Flag became their official flag. It turns 59 years old today! It’s instantly recognizable.

A flag is a country’s most basic way to present themselves to the world.

Simplicity and distinctiveness are powerful ways to persuade others. The Maple Leaf Flag has succeeded in persuading the world that the red-and-white maple leaf means Canada.

Canada Flag Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain. Canada Flag Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

The Maple Tree has provided Canada with the sweet nectar of maple syrup. Maple wood is a strong, durable, and long-lasting wood. What a great symbol to use!

What came before it? That flag had maple leaves on it but…it was a mess:

Canada's previous flag Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain. Canada’s previous flag Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

This old flag was trying to do too many things at the same time. It also was copying other flags and emblems instead of being its own thing.

You have the Union Jack of the United Kingdom in the upper-left corner.

The three lions of England.

A “Lion Rampant” for Scotland.

The three fleurs-de-lis for France.

A harp for Ireland.

Finally, something new is seen on the flag with the triple maple leaves.

This flag got a huge improvement by focusing on a simple, powerful message.

I don’t know why Australia and New Zealand have kept their British Empire inspired flags after Canada set such a great example. South Africa also switched from a similar flag to an amazing and distinctive flag in 1994:

South Africa's current flag. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain. South Africa’s current flag. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Here are Australia’s and New Zealand’s flags, I’m guessing that 99.9% of people outside those two countries can’t correctly ID them:

Australia:

Australia's current flag. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain. Australia’s current flag. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

New Zealand:

New Zealand's current flag. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain. New Zealand’s current flag. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Here are some proposed replacements that are far more distinctive. They still are a bit messy but present the countries in a more memorable way:

Australia:

A speculative Australia flag worn by Australian actor Sam Neill in the movie Event Horizon. It combines the Aboriginal Flag with the current Australian Flag. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain. A speculative Australia flag worn by Australian actor Sam Neill in the movie Event Horizon. It combines the Aboriginal Flag with the current Australian Flag. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

New Zealand:

New Zealand's proposed Silver Fern flag that almost won a national referendum in 2016. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain. New Zealand’s proposed Silver Fern flag that almost won a national referendum in 2016. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

For  your own presentations. Be distinct. Keep things focused.

Let this walk down flag history lane be a lesson to all! Maybe Australia and New Zealand will get new, powerful flags.

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(Featured image at the top: Canada’s old and current flag side-by-side. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.)