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Ontario (Canada)

Last modified: 2006-09-30 by phil nelson
Keywords: ontario | canada | british red ensign | maple leaf (3) | saint george cross |
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Flag of Ontario (Canada) image by Martin Grieve


ISO 3166-2 Code: CA-ON
MARC Code: onc

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British red ensign with arms in fly - green with three golden maple leaves and St. George's cross in chief. ratio 1:2. officially hoisted 21 May 1965. Civil and state flag on land.
Željko Heimer, 16 July 1996

I can confirm that the Provincial Arms were granted by a Warrant of H.M. Queen Victoria dated 26 May 1868 (Gazetted 16 November 1869), and augmented with crest, supporters and motto by a Warrant of H.M. King Edward VII dated 27 February 1909 (Gazetted 24 April 1909).

The flag of Ontario was established 'An Act to provide a Provincial Flag for Ontario (The Flag Act 1965)', which "assented to" on 14 April, received Royal Approval on 11 May, proclaimed on 13 May (published in 'The Ontario Gazette of 15th May) and came into effect on 21 May 1965. I have always understood that the flags of Manitoba and Ontario were adopted in protest against the Maple Leaf Flag, and this is apparently confirmed (at least) in part by the preamble to the Act which reads:

"WHEREAS it is deemed expedient to adopt a flag of historical significance as the Provincial Flag of Ontario; AND WHEREAS it is desirable that such a flag have the design and colouring of the Canadian Red Ensign except that the badge in the fly be the shield of the Armorial Bearings of the Province of Ontario granted by Royal Warrant in 1868".

Article One of the Schedule gives the colours in the (now redundant) Admiralty Colour Code as "No. T1144 for nylon worsted bunting and No. T818A for other bunting" (identical with the flag of Manitoba), and centres the shield "in the half he shield was the complete provincial arms when the flag was adopted in 1967. The crest, supporters and motto were added to the arms, but not to the flag the 75th anniversary of the creation of the province on 30th July 1980.

The illustration in Article Two (unlike that of Manitoba) shows this shield exactly centred in the fly half, with a height at one-half of flag width and proportions of 11:9.
Christopher Southworth, 25 January 2005

The correct dates according to Conrad Swan (York Herald) in "Canada : Symbols of Sovereignty" are;

  • Royal Assent 12th April 1965.
  • Adopted 14th April 1965.

The design was prepared by Garter King of Arms (Sir Anthony Wagner)

Swan explains why Royal Assent was required for the flag of Manitoba, and presumably the same explanation applies to Ontario.

"Since the flag was to incorporate parts of the royal armorial ensigns, namely the Union Badge in the canton, laid down by order in council dated 5th November 1800, and the Red Ensign, laid down by royal proclamation dated 1st January 1801, it was first necessary that the personal assent of Her Majesty to such an incorporation of royal ensigns be sought through the Governor-General, prior to the royal assent being given by the Lieutenant-Governor to the Bill of the Provincial Legislature."

The relevant paragraph in the letter of 29 April 1868, written by Sir Frederick Rogers, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, to Sir Charles Young, Garter, King of Arms reads:

In reply I am directed to return the Drawings in question (Arms of the four Canadian Provinces) and to say that in the communication which his Grace had with the Delegates from the North American Provinces a desire was expressed for the adoption of the Maple Leaf in the Arms of Ontario and his Grace1 would prefer its adoption to that of the Wheatsheaf if it could properly be retained. That is the only alteration which he would propose.

1 Probably Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, who was Secretary of State for the Colonies, 8 March 1867 to 1 December 1868.

David Prothero, 28 January 2005, 2 August 2006

Flag of the Lieutenant Governor

[Lt. Governor flag] image by Zach Harden

The Lieutenant Governor's Standard is a royal blue flag with the shield of the Arms of Ontario at its centre, circled with ten gold maple leaves. Above all of this is a Crown which symbolizes the role of the Lieutenant Governor as The Queen's representative in Ontario. The symbol at the centre is also used by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor on stationery and on various other materials such as gifts which are given by Her Honour.

At the request of the provincial government, the Standard of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario was the first in a series of new Vice-Regal standards approved by the Governor General, acting in the name of The Queen. The Standard was approved on June 27, 1981.

The Lieutenant Governor's Standard is used on the car in which Her Honour travels as well as outside of buildings in which official visits and duties take place. In Ontario, it is customary for the Standard to fly at all times immediately outside the official entrance to the Lieutenant Governor's Suite at Queen's Park. The Standard is also placed in Her Honour's Office, as well as in the Music Room, both inside the Suite, where official ceremonies and photographs are taken.

The Standard takes precedence over all other flags in Ontario including the Canadian flag. The standards of The Queen and of the Governor General take precedence over the Lieutenant Governor's Standard. The Administrator of the Government of Ontario is also entitled to fly the Standard when performing the duties of the office.
Dov Gutterman, 22 March 1999

See also:

Legislative Assembly of Ontario

[Legislative Assembly of Ontario] image by Jonathan Bradshaw, 19 March 2006

The flag used by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (LAO) is derived from the Coat of Arms of the LAO and as far as I am able to assess, it is very close to being a banner of arms. Note, that the LAO's coat of arms is different from that of the Province itself.

The actual flag used by the LAO differs from the image above in these respects:

(1) The ratio of the actual flag appears from personal observation to me, to be 1:3, although I have not measured it and cannot find documentation. [Ed: On 22 March 2006, Dean McGee noted: Counting the squares in the border, I get 16 x 32, so I think it's a typical Canadian 1x2.]

(2) There is no garland of maple leaves.

(3) There should be a wider gap between the top of the maces and the border.

(4) The device of the crossed maces with the Ontario provincial crest superimposed upon it is centred in the middle of the flag and the mace on the left is of a different design at both the top and the bottom to that on the right. I have been unable to find any record of the reason for this, although there are at least seven documents in the Assembly's library catalogue which if consulted would no doubt reveal the answer. (Their Library catalogue is available on the internet for searching.)

(5) The colour of the border of the flag is (probably) gold or brown, rather than yellow. Documents in the Assembly Library would probably reveal the actual colour, if not a full blazon.

(6) The number of rectangular shapes - forgive my lack of heraldic knowledge in this regard - along the top and bottom edges of the flag are fifteen each and along the hoist and fly sides of the flag are seven each.

(7) The border, shield and maces are all outlined in black.

The Coat of Arms of the Legislative Assembly was an initiative of a former Speaker, David Warner and was granted to the LAO in 1992, during his term of office, to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the building at Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario in which the Assembly meets and the two hundredth anniversary of the opening of the first "Ontario Parliament". You may see a full colour copy in the publication cited as my source number (5) below, on the assembly web site.

There are two sets of three flags on the outside of the building and two sets of three flags inside the chamber, on the wall behind the Speaker's chair (the LAO web site, incidentally, incorrectly describes the carving behind the Speaker's chair as "the British Royal Standard"). I have never seen, but understand there are others elsewhere in the complex at entrances not ordinarily used by members of the public.


  • (1) Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Hansard 1217 [Record of assembly debates], Thursday 21 Aug 1997.
  • (2) Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Library Catalogue, consulted 21 March 2006
  • (3) Personal photograph of the main public entrance of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Queen's Park, Toronto, 12 November 2004
  • (4) Personal observations and conversations with Legislative Assembly of Ontario staff members, November 2004
  • (5) Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Ontario Politics and Government: A Brief Overview, The Legislative Library of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, revised edition published November 2003
  • (6) Legislative Assembly of Ontario web site, <> (21 March 2006)
  • (7) Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Interparliamentary and Public Relations Branch, Dans les jardins de líhistoire, date not given.

Colin Dobson, 21 March 2006

Subdivisions of Ontario

  • 49 county-level entities
    • Algoma District
    • Brant County
    • Bruce County
    • Chatham-Kent Division
    • Cochrane District
    • Dufferin County
    • Durham Regional Municipality
    • Elgin County
    • Essex County
    • Frontenac County
    • Greater Sudbury Division
    • Grey County
    • Haldimand-Norfolk Regional Municipality
    • Haliburton County
    • Halton Regional Municipality
    • Hamilton Division
    • Hastings County
    • Huron County
    • Kawartha Lakes Division
    • Kenora District
    • Lambton County
    • Lanark County
    • Leeds and Grenville United Counties
    • Lennox and Addington County
    • Manitoulin District
    • Middlesex County
    • Muskoka District Municipality
    • Niagara Regional Municipality
    • Nipissing District
    • Northumberland County
    • Ottawa, City of
    • Oxford County
    • Parry Sound District
    • Peel Regional Municipality
    • Perth County
    • Peterborough County
    • Prescott and Russell United Counties
    • Prince Edward Division
    • Rainy River District
    • Renfrew County
    • Simcoe County
    • Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry United Counties
    • Sudbury District
    • Thunder Bay District
    • Timiskaming District
    • Toronto, City of
    • Waterloo Regional Municipality
    • Wellington County
    • York Regional Municipality
  • 418 municipality-level entities
  • 151 Amerindian reserves or settlements
  • 17 unorganized territories
Luc Baronian, April 23, 2005

Flags of Subdivisions

Classification: Canada | Ontario | British Red Ensign | St. George's Cross | Maple Leaf | embattled flag | Legislative assembly flag | crossed maces | lieutenant governor's flag | crown | Vice-Regal standard | maple leaf garland