Flag of Montreal

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Flag of Montreal.svg
Proportion 1:2
Adopted May 1939
Design Symmetric cross
The flag flying in downtown Montreal

The current flag of Montreal was first displayed in May 1939, and is based on the city's coat of arms. The flag's proportions are 1:2 in a symmetric cross.


The red heraldic cross represents the "Christian motives and principles which governed the founders of the city," according to the city's official web site.[1] The four floral emblems represent the four main European ethnic groups that were settled in the city in the 19th century, and which are also represented on the Canadian Red Ensign. Clockwise from top left, they are:

Image Description
Blue Fleur-de-lys (Flag of Montreal).svg A blue Fleur-de-lys, of the Royal House of Bourbon, representing the French, the original settlers of the city.
(The original coat of arms on which the flag is modelled had a beaver in place of the fleur-de-lys until 1936.[2])
Red Rose of Lancaster (Flag of Montreal).svg A red Rose of Lancaster, representing the English.
Thistle (Flag of Montreal).svg A thistle, representing the Scots.
Shamrock (Flag of Montreal).svg A shamrock, representing the Irish.

Previous flag[edit]

Montreal's original coat of arms was designed in 1833 by its first mayor, Jacques Viger. They were similar to the current version with the difference that the red cross was a saltire and a beaver stood in the place of what is now a fleur-de-lys. The arms were revised in 1938 to which Montreal’s current flag is based.

Four years prior to the first raising of the current flag, King George V, the sovereign of Canada, celebrated his Silver Jubilee (25th year on the throne) on Monday May 6, 1935. An article in the Montreal Gazette from May 3, 1935[3] reported that the city’s Jubilee committee had discovered a rule whereby official coats of arms of British corporations could be interpreted into flag banners. Per the article, Montreal prepared to raise its own distinct flag for the first time ever on the King’s Jubilee day based on the original coat of arms by Jacques Viger.

Next flag[edit]

On February the 12th 2017, the Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre announce a modification of the flag of Montreal to include a First Nations symbol to it[4]. The decision was made because 2017 is the 375th anniversary of the founding of the city. The symbol will be chosen by the First Nations communities of Montreal.


  1. ^ "What do the symbols on Montréal's coat of arms mean?", Centre d'histoire de Montréal, Ville de Montréal, retrieved May 23, 2013
  2. ^ "Montreal coat of arms", engraving by John Henry Walker, McCord Museum, retrieved May 23, 2008
  3. ^ "Montreal to have city flag to fly", Montreal Gazette May 3-1935, retrieved November 17, 2011
  4. ^ "Les autochtones choisiront le nouveau symbole du drapeau de Montréal"(In French), La Presse Feb 14-2017, retrieved February 16, 2017

See also[edit]

External links[edit]