When you think of Canada, what national symbols come to mind? Apart from behavioural ticks such as being nice and saying sorry, does anything come to mind? Well, let’s explore how our national psyche is represented in symbols together!
The Maple Leaf
French Canada first adopted the maple leaf as a symbol for the St. Jean Baptiste Society. From there, the symbol has become a part of our national identity appearing in countless publications and becoming a permanent part of our psyche when the maple leaf appeared on our flag in 1965.
Maple sugar collected from the sap has been part of the North American psyche prior to European settlement. French explorers and missionaries were introduced to this technique in the 1700s. Over the next few centuries, family-owned dairy farms produced maple sugar for their families, communities, and open markets.
However, since the 1970s production of maple syrup has become a well-regulated industry. Technological breakthroughs such as vacuum pumps and reverse-osmosis filters have allowed for efficient extraction and packaging before going to market.
Labelled as the national sport of Canada, ice hockey was developed by J.G.A. Creighton in 1875. What started as a simple game with two teams on skates and players with sticks to place a puck into opposing net, has become a top-ranked sports with celebrity-like athletes that make millions.
Today, Canadians love to skate in winter, cheer on their NHL-based hockey teams, wear jerseys with the maple leaf, and brag about their Olympic gold-winning women and men’s hockey teams. Wayne Gretzky and Don Cherry are hockey legends and continue to be a part of the game.
Beavers are cute, reliable, and ecological conservation heroes. When traders started to hunt beavers to develop pelts and fur hats in the 1700s to meet the demand to suit European fashion sensibilities. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) placed the mighty beaver on their coat of arms, and Canada followed suit by making them our national symbol in 1975. Go Beavers!
Do You Have a Favourite National Symbol?
Are there any national symbols that we missed? Feel free to leave a comment below.