The Quebec flag, generally referred to as Fleurdelisé, was the first provincial flag to be formally accepted and adopted in Canada. Though the flag underwent many variations, all of them had fleur-de-lis as their integral part. The present one was approved by the government of Canada. Thus, it became the first provincial flag.
The rules of the Commonwealth Games forbid athletes from carrying provincial flags to the podium. Jennifer Carroll (a Canadian swimmer) stirred controversy when she waved the Quebec flag (instead of the Canadian flag) at the 2002 Commonwealth Games after clinching the woman’s 50-m backstroke event. Later, she was asked by the disciplinary committee to apologize to the board and her colleagues in writing.
Quebec is the largest province of Canada. It was established by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. The French became the natives of this land. Later, they felt the need of having their own, independent identity. What could be a better formal identity to the world than a flag? Every flag has its own meaning, which represents the place, the people, and their culture. We take a look into the history of the Quebec flag, along with explaining what the colors and symbols on the flag represent.
Quebec got its name from Algonquin language, which means small passage or “where the river narrows”. This name was given because the river Saint Lawrence forms a very narrow passage around it.
During the World War II, they used the flag of France. Later, the citizens felt the need to have an independent and unique flag.
The Quebec coat of arms, provided by Queen Victoria in 1868, was one of the designs submitted, but it was never used. The design was later altered in 1939 by the Order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
The original flag, flown in 1948, was called Carillon. The flag bore four ‘fleurs-de-lis’ in gold, with the flowers of each pointing towards the center. This version was revised in the same year, but this time, although it retained the fleurs-de-lis, it was white in color, standing upright, and placed one in each of the four quadrants.
Quebec was the first to have an independent provincial flag, which was flown for the first time in Quebec city from the Parliament Building of the National Assembly on January 21, 1948.
This flag that was flown was the Carillon flag, which bore fleur-de-lis in gold. The revised version, i.e., the white and upright fleur-de-lis was not available until February 2, 1948.
Quebec Flag Colors
The Quebec flag has a blue (Pantone 293) color in its background, a white cross dividing it into four quadrants, and a white fleur-de-lis at the center of each quadrant, pointing upwards. The proportions of the flag are in the ratio 2:3. However, the 1:2 variant is very often used to match it with the size of the flag of Canada, when flown together.
What Do the Colors and Symbols Represent?
The blue (Pantone 293) is the reminder of the countries that had colonized Quebec. Great Britain and France have blue as the base of their flag. From the religious point of view, it is the symbol of truth and clarity as Mary and Jesus wore clothes of this color. It symbolizes heaven as it is similar to the color of the sky.
The white lines form the cross, and are horizontally isotropic. The source of the cross belongs to regal France. The cross recalls an ancient French military banner. The horizontal line gives the effect of similarity―as above so below.
This is a common symbol used by the French kings, which makes people draw a close connection with French symbols. There is one fleur-de-lis in each quadrant, and it is white in color. The white ones symbolize purity; an original representation of Virgin Mary. The ones that were used traditionally by the royal families of France were golden in color, which in itself conveys that the flag has no association with France. According to Christianity, fleur-de-lis represents a lily, which is the symbol of purity. The three petals and sepals can be interpreted as the trinity, i.e., the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.