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Quebec (Canada)


Last modified: 2022-02-26 by rob raeside
Keywords: quebec | canada | france | fleur de lys (4) | saguenay | cross: st george |
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image by Martin Grieve

The official proportions of the flag are:

horizontally: 10-4-10 (=24)
vertically: 6-4-6 (=16)
with height of the fleur-de-lys: 4

The flag was officially confirmed on 21 January 1948.
Željko Heimer - 16 July 1996

See also:

External links for Quebec Flag Protocol and Laws:

Other External Links:

See also:

The Fleur-de-Lys

In the "European French Empire", the colonised peoples would not recognise themselves in any flag with the fleur-de-lys in it. Nor would most of the Frenchmen, for whom that means royalist or far-right wing ideas.
François-Jean Blanc - 22 January 1998

It was not popular in North America before this century. Tricolors of horizontal green white red or vertical blue white red were a lot more common. Nowadays, it doesn't represent royalty to us (royalists are inexistent or at least marginal in Quebec), it just represent our French culture and the period during which we came to North America (which of course was a royal period, but I mean that no one associates a rightist or monarchist ideology with the fleur de lys here).
Luc-Vartan Baronian - 22 January 1998

Color of the flag

La Presse, 20 February 2006, reports that the first flag of Quebec, hoisted on 21 January 1948, is still kept in the Council Room of the National Assembly, along with Champlain's flag and other historical flags.

Claude Paulette, expert on the Quebec flag, explains that the shade of blue of the flag changed with time. It has been for a long time too light. Today, the shade of blue is more metallic, which makes the flag more similar to Champlain's flag.

In 2004, the government of Quebec prescribed the blue shade of the flag as Pantone 293. There are still a lot of flags with a lighter blue shade, which were most probably manufactured in countries where the new shade has not been noticed yet.
Ivan Sache, 24 February 2006


Variant Form on federal buildings

[variant on government buildings] image by Luc-Vartan Baronian

Officially, the proportions of the Quebec flag are 2:3, but in the facts, civilians, corporations and the federal government often fly a 1:2 version. The reason for this is that the federal government has this idea that all flags flying next to the Maple Leaf must be 1:2 too. As a result, the 1:2 version is manufactured widely and sold to the public and to corporations. Therefore, the 1:2 version is a de facto civil variant. Provincial buildings (including  schools which are of provincial jurisdiction) will normally fly the official  2:3 version. I suppose that the situation is the same in other provinces with  a non 1:2 flag, like Nova Scotia.
Luc-Vartan Baronian - 05 January 1998

[Unofficial Variant] by Luc-Vartan Baronian

This is another unofficial variant of the Quebec flag seen very often. It is a variant in three features: 1:2 instead of 2:3; lighter blue; different fleurs de lys.
Luc-Vartan Baronian, 1 January 1999

"Polish" Quebec Flag

Newspaper La Presse reported the use of a red version of Quebec's flag during a football game in Montreal. The flag has been used by Polish supporters mixing the red of Poland's flag with the shape of Quebec's flag. The event has brought some reactions since red is the colour on Canada's flag and widely associated with federalism whereas the blue colour is associated with the French-speaking community and nationalism. Source (in French):
Michel Simard, 4 July 2007

Quebec Day

"Quebec Day" is officially called "Fete nationale du Quebec" and is celebrated on June 24th, the Saint-John-the-Baptist day, the saint patron of Quebecers and most French-Canadians (except Acadians who have as saint patron Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption (Assumption in English?), but they still celebrate Saint-John's, it's just not as big a holiday for them. Acadians were never historically called French-Canadians, even though they are French and "Canadians" but in another sense... ***

In Ontario, the Franco-Ontarians still call it the "Saint-Jean-Baptiste" and they have a festival in Ottawa during that week called the "Festival Franco-Ontarien".

Even if the government of Quebec gave the day a more laic name, the day is still referred to as "Saint-Jean-Baptiste" by most people I know.

There is a Quebec Flag Day sometime in March or April... But it's no big deal here, they just show on TV a huge flag suspended somewhere.

***Here is the story : In the 1600s, there were 2 French people in North America : Canadiens and Acadiens.

Canada and Acadie, Louisiana and some other territories like Detroit were referred to as New-France.

The British first conquered Acadie and deported its population to Louisiana, France and England (1755).

Then Canada (Quebec and Ontario) was conquered (1759-1760). The British were still called British and the French born in Canada were the Canadiens.

Around the time of the actual federation (1867), the British started referring to themselves as Canadians, and the "Canadiens" to differentiate from them called themselves French-Canadians (Canadiens-Francais).

In the 1960s, French-Canadians of Quebec felt humiliated to have a name that gave the impression that they were a minority in their own country (province). So the name Quebecois became more and more popular...

To this day, Acadians are rarely referred to as French-Canadians. The official federation of francophone minorities in Canada is called : Federations des communautes francophones et acadiennes du Canada. So they're not even referred to as francophones!

"Acadie Day", is of course "Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption Day", August 15th, and it is the day their flag was adopted in 1884. I don't think it is referred to as Flag Day, though.
Luc-Vartan Baronian - 27 February 1997

Quebec Flag Day

In 1984 a motion was presented to the "Assemblée Nationale", the Parliament of Québec by Minister Guy Chevrette on the initiative of the Mouvement National Quebecois, and the Societé Saint Jean Baptiste, that May 24th would be declared as Flag Day. The motion was accepted by all the members. The motion is not sanctioned yet, we are still waiting.

Here is a small story: Our Flag "Fleurdelisé" flew for the time at the Parliament mast on 21 January 1948 by Government decision and was sanctioned two years later on 9 March 1950.
Donald Gauthier - 1 March 1997

Tomorrow, May 24th, is QUEBEC FLAG DAY. It has been so since 1984, when a special motion was adopted by the Assemblee Nationale.

There seems to be no special reason for the choice of this date other than preceding Quebec's National Holiday (formerly and still known as St Jean Baptist Day) by one month to put Quebecers in a rejoicing atmosphere.

Though there are always many Quebec flags displayed on this day, no special mention was ever made at the National Assembly since 1984, and no one seems to make a great deal out of it.

Fortunately for you FOTW members, your loyal Quebecois members (Donald Gauthier and me) have gathered this piece of info for your files.
Luc Baronian - 23 May 1997

Vertical Displays

Vertical displays of the Quebec flag
Official vertical pattern Unofficial variant in photograph

[Vertical Quebec flag] image by Ivan Sache

The point in the odd vertical display that is usual for the Quebec flag was explained way back in 1974, in a book about the flag published by the government that included a protocol. The point is that the canton (canton d'honneur; top left quarter) must always be to the viewer's left.

Source: Archambault, Jacques et Eugénie Lévesque. 1974. Le drapeau québécois, Québec: Éditeur officiel du Québec.
Luc Baronian, 22 April 2005

[Vertical Quebec flag] image by Jorge Candeias, 23 October 2005

I have in my files a photo dated from 1999 of a rally showing a bunch of people flying Quebec flags in a street sided by buildings looking relatively old. The photo is rather small and blurry so details are not very visible, but it's quite clear even so that an unidentified flag is flying from what looks like a lamp post that prolongs a traffic light.

Apparently, it's a Quebec alternative (and quite unofficial) flag. A vertical flag, about 2:1 in proportions, diagonally divided from lower hoist to upper fly (if this terminology has any significance in this kind of flags - I'm only applying it here because this same design could be hoisted from a vertical pole, unlike this one that is hanging) white over blue and with a blue fleur-de-lys on the white triangle and a white one on the blue triangle.

I don't believe this flag has any particular significance other than being an alternative way to demonstrate allegiance to Quebec without actually flying the flag of Quebec itself.
Jorge Candeias, 23 October 2005

I have seen those (and various variants such as yellow-blue) before, mainly during the Fête national parade. This is not a flag, it is simply street decoration. It could be compared to the red-white blue bunting sometime used for patriotic decoration in the USA. I have never seen it flown anywhere beside street lamps.
Marc Pasquin, 26 November 2005


The Quebec government as released a document in English pertaining to the official protocol for flying the flag of Quebec:

This answers a question on by Ivan Sache who reported seeing a vertical flag with the fleur-de-lys pointing toward the hoist and was wondering what was the official policy (t is as reported).

Another interesting fact: Half-mast for a flag means literally that (the pamphlet is a concise translation of the website which goes on to specify that the white band should be in the middle). The only exception is when putting it at half mast would allow access to it by a passerby; in that case, a black cravat should be tied to the top.

One note on the term institution used throughout the pamphlet: This refers to public service directly under the jurisdiction of the Quebec government (school, hospital, etc...). Flag flying in the province is not as widespread as elsewhere and many buildings only have one pole so it is common practices in Quebec for places to only fly the flag of its relevant level of government (municipal, provincial or federal). Thus, when the pamphlet mention putting the Quebec in the place of honour, it is only for public services and not for private endeavours (such as a hotel) which would normally would fly them in the usual manner.
Marc Pasquin, 7 March 2004