Flag of Quebec

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Flag of Quebec.svg
UseCivil and state flag
AdoptedJanuary 21, 1948; 74 years ago (1948-01-21)
DesignA blue field charged with a symmetric cross between four fleurs-de-lis

The flag of Quebec, called the Fleurdelisé (French for 'lily-flowered'), represents the Canadian province of Quebec. It consists of a white cross on a blue background, with four white fleurs-de-lis.[1]

It was the first provincial flag officially adopted in Canada and was originally shown on January 21, 1948, at the Parliament Building in Quebec City, during the administration of Maurice Duplessis. Legislation governing its usage was enacted on March 9, 1950. Quebec's Flag Day (January 21) commemorates its adoption each year, although for some time it was celebrated in May.[2]


A 1:2 Fleurdelisé on display

Article 2 of the Act respecting the flag and emblems of Québec confers the status of national emblem (French: emblème national) on the flag of Quebec.[3][4]


Naval flag[edit]

The Fleurdelisé takes its white cross from certain French flags of the Kingdom of France, namely the French naval flag as well as the French merchant flag. Its white fleurs-de-lis (symbolizing purity) and blue field (symbolizing heaven) come from a banner honouring the Virgin Mary.[citation needed] The flag is blazoned Azure, a cross between four fleurs-de-lis argent.[5] Its horizontal symmetry allows both sides of the flag to show the same image.

Bourbon flag[edit]

The royal banner of France or "Bourbon flag" was the first and most commonly used flag in New France.[6][7][8][9] The banner has three gold fleurs-de-lis on a dark blue field (arranged two and one), and it was also present on the French naval flag.


Unofficial (but commonly seen) 1:2 variant
Vertical display of the flag

The flag's official ratio is 2:3 (width to length), but the flag is very often seen as a 1:2 variant to match the flag of Canada in size when flying together.

The Act respecting the flag and emblems of Québec states that "in all cases, the flag of Quebec has precedence over any other flag or emblem."[4] However, under federal protocol, the Canadian flag takes precedence when both are flown.[10]

The official shade of blue is Pantone 293. In 8-bit RGB, it is #003399.[11] Unofficial variants using a lighter blue are common.[12]

Vertical display[edit]

The canton (canton d'honneur; top left quarter) must always be to the viewer's left.[13]


The green, white and red tricolour used by the Parti patriote between 1832 and 1838

The desire of Quebecers for a distinctive flag was longstanding. Other flags that had been used included the Parti Patriote flag (a horizontal green, white and red tricolour, which became the flag of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society), as well as the French tricolour.

The direct predecessor of the modern Fleurdelisé was created by Elphège Filiatrault, a parish priest in Saint-Jude, Quebec.[5] Called the Carillon [fr], it resembles the modern flag except that the fleurs-de-lis are golden and located at the corners, pointing inward. It was based on an earlier flag with no cross, and with the figure of the Virgin Mary in the centre.

The Carillon flag was first raised on September 26, 1902, and it is preserved in the archives of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. Another version, with the Sacred Heart in the centre, also appeared, but it was left behind in the push for a new provincial flag after World War II. The Carillon flags were used informally.

On May 26, 1868, Queen Victoria approved Quebec's first coat of arms. A flag might have been devised by using the arms to deface a blue ensign (a Union Flag in the canton, and the Quebec coat of arms in the fly). However, it appears to have never been used — various sources including the official Quebec government site[14] mention that it was the Union Flag that flew over the Parliament Building until January 21, 1948, not the blue ensign. In addition, in 1938, at the opening of a mining school in Val-d'Or, the flag used to represent the Quebec government was a banner of arms. This was done at the behest of public servant Burroughs Pelletier,[15] who had been told that the Ministry wanted a symbol but were unsure as to what should be used.

Former flags for Quebec and previous proposals for a new one
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg British Flag of Quebec.svg Carillon Flag.svg Drapeau-Carillon-Sacré-Coeur.jpg Quebec-flagprojects-(Burroughs Pelletier).PNG
The Union Flag flew at the Parliament Building in Quebec from 1 July 1867 to 20 January 1948 The little-used Quebec Blue Ensign The original Carillon [fr], proposed in 1902 as Quebec's new flag; it was flown at the Parliament from 21 January 1948 until the new Fleurdelisé was ready on 2 February 1948 The Carillon Sacré-Coeur, a flag waved by French Canadian Roman Catholics until the 1950s Flag proposals prepared by Burroughs Pelletier

In 1947, an independent member of the Legislative Assembly, René Chaloult, demanded a new provincial flag to displace the unpopular (amongst some segment of the population of Quebec) Canadian Red Ensign and to replace the neglected Quebec blue ensign. Various ideas were discussed between Chaloult, Lionel Groulx and Maurice Duplessis. One such idea involved incorporating a red maple leaf (later to be adopted for the flag of Canada). Burroughs Pelletier was also asked to present a few proposals to Duplessis, none of which were adopted. He was however consulted about what became the present design.

On January 21, 1948, the new flag was adopted and was flown over the Parliament Building that very afternoon. Apparently, it was the Carillon flag that flew that day, because the modern Fleurdelisé (with the fleurs-de-lis repositioned upright to their modern configuration in correspondence with the rules of heraldry) was not available until February 2.[16]

The flag was adopted by order-in-council, and the news was presented to the Legislative Assembly more or less as a fait accompli. Opposition leader Adélard Godbout expressed his approval, as did René Chaloult. A law governing the usage of the flag was later officially adopted by the Quebec Parliament on March 9, 1950. A more recent version of such a law was adopted in 2002.

A 2001 survey by the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) ranked the Fleurdelisé as the best provincial or territorial flag, and the third-best of the flags of all U.S. and Canadian provinces, territories and states.[17] Likewise, the flag is highly popular in Quebec, and it is often seen displayed at many private residences and commercial buildings.

The flag of Quebec has a close resemblance to both the French Châlons-en-Champagne city coat of arms and the Spanish Morcín municipality flag, which use similar (though unrelated) designs but with differing colours.

Blason Chalons-en-Champagne.svg Morcin flag.svg
The coat of arms of Châlons-en-Champagne, France The municipal flag of Morcín, Spain

The flag of Quebec was the basis for the jerseys of the Quebec Nordiques, which included the same colour blue, the fleurs-de-lis and white stripes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smith, Whitney (January 26, 2001). "Flag of Quebec". Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  2. ^ "Chapitre D-12.1 Loi Sur le Drapeau et les Emblèmes du Québec" [Québec Flag and Emblems Act]. Publications Québec. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  3. ^ "Drapeau et symboles nationaux" [Flag and National Symbols]. Justice Québec. Archived from the original on April 17, 2008. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "An Act respecting the Flag and emblems of Québec, R.S.Q. c. D-12.1". CanLII. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Province of Quebec". Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada. Official website of the Governor General. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  6. ^ New York State Historical Association (1915). Proceedings of the New York State Historical Association with the Quarterly Journal: 2nd-21st Annual Meeting with a List of New Members. The Association. It is most probable that the Bourbon Flag was used during the greater part of the occupancy of the French in the region extending southwest from the St. Lawrence to the Mississippi , known as New France... The French flag was probably blue at that time with three golden fleur - de - lis ....
  7. ^ "Fleur-de-lys | The Canadian Encyclopedia". www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. At the time of New France (1534 to the 1760s), two flags could be viewed as having national status. The first was the banner of France — a blue square flag bearing three gold fleurs-de-lys. It was flown above fortifications in the early years of the colony. For instance, it was flown above the lodgings of Pierre Du Gua de Monts at Île Sainte-Croix in 1604. There is some evidence that the banner also flew above Samuel de Champlain’s habitation in 1608. ..... the completely white flag of the French Royal Navy was flown from ships, forts and sometimes at land-claiming ceremonies.
  8. ^ "INQUINTE.CA | CANADA 150 Years of History ~ The story behind the flag". inquinte.ca. When Canada was settled as part of France and dubbed "New France," two flags gained national status. One was the Royal Banner of France. This featured a blue background with three gold fleurs-de-lis. A white flag of the French Royal Navy was also flown from ships and forts and sometimes flown at land-claiming ceremonies.
  9. ^ W. Stewart Wallace (1948). The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada. pp. 350–351. During the French régime in Canada, there does not appear to have been any French national flag in the modern sense of the term. The "Banner of France", which was composed of fleur-de-lys on a blue field, came nearest to being a national flag, since it was carried before the king when he marched to battle, and thus in some sense symbolized the kingdom of France. During the later period of French rule, it would seem that the emblem...was a flag showing the fleur-de-lys on a white ground.... as seen in Florida. There were, however, 68 flags authorized for various services by Louis XIV in 1661; and a number of these were doubtless used in New France
  10. ^ "Position of honour of the National Flag of Canada". Ministry of Culture, History and Sport. Retrieved January 21, 2021. The order of precedence for flags is: The National Flag of Canada; The flags of other sovereign nations in alphabetical order (if applicable); The flags of the provinces of Canada (in the order in which they joined Confederation); The flags of the territories of Canada (in the order in which they joined Confederation)...It is important to note that the following flags take precedence over the National Flag on buildings where one of the dignitaries are in residence or where they are attending a function: Her Majesty’s Personal Canadian Flag; the standards of members of the Royal Family; the standard of the Governor General; and the standard of the Lieutenant Governor (in his or her province of jurisdiction and when assuming the duties of the representative of the Queen).
  11. ^ "Normes d'utilisations / Signature du gouvernement du Québec" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Quebec (Canada)". Flags of the World. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  13. ^ Lévesque, Jacques et Eugénie (1974). Le drapeau québécois. Québec: Éditeur officiel du Québec. ISBN 978-0775430264.
  14. ^ "Drapeau et symboles nationaux". Gouvernement du Québec. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  15. ^ Father of Jean Pelletier
  16. ^ Bouvier, Luc (April 12, 2004). "Histoire des drapeaux québécois: du tricolore canadien au fleurdelisé québécois". HeraldicAmerica (in French). Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  17. ^ Kaye, Ted (April–June 2001). "New Mexico Tops State/Provincial Flags Survey" (PDF). NAVA News. 34 (2, Issue 170): 4–5. Retrieved January 21, 2021.


In English[edit]

In French[edit]

External links[edit]