Today marks the 150th anniversary of Canada, or more accurately the 150th anniversary of British and French Canada bonding together to form a confederation. So as Canadians worldwide get ready to celebrate, we celebrate Canadian tartans!
Scottish Canadians make up around 15% of the country’s total population so it’s fair to say that Scotland has had quite the impact on Canadian culture over the years! I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only Scot to say that some areas of Canada are more Scottish than Scotland itself!
Now that we’ve established the link between Canada and Scotland lets get back to good old tartan, eh?!
So what’s the official tartan of Canada? Well, good question… The Maple Leaf tartan, having been the unofficial tartan of Canada for years finally became an official national emblem of Canada in 2011.
“The tartan is one of the most visual expressions of Scottish heritage and culture,” said the Honourable John Wallace, Senator – New Brunswick. “Making the Maple Leaf Tartan an official symbol of Canada highlights the many significant contributions that people of Scottish heritage have made to the founding of Canada.”
The tartan was originally designed back in 1964 by David Weiser in anticipation of the 100th anniversary in 1967.
As well as a national tartan each of Canada’s provinces (Except for Nunavut) have their own regional tartan, which again goes to show just how much Canadians love tartan, although maybe not as much as they love Poutine!
Canadian Geographic made this super map showing each of the Provincial tartans in their home place. I think we will need to help out Nunavut and have a tartan designed for them to in fill the final spot on the map.
The green of the Alberta tartan is said to represent the province’s forests, while the gold represents its grain fields. Alberta’s tartan was officially adopted by the province in 1961 and was designed by Alison Lamb and Ellen Neilse.
The Cape Breton Island tartan was was designed in 1957 by Elizabeth Grant. It’s colour scheme was inspired by a Lillian Crewe Walsh poem.
Grey for our Cape Breton Steel
Gold for the golden sunsets shining bright on the lakes of Bras d’Or
Green for our lofty mountains, our valleys and our fields
To show us God’s hand has lingered
To Bless Cape Breton’s shore.
The official tartan of Newfoundland and Labrador was designed in 1955 by Samuel B. Wilansky. The tartan is a predominantly green and brown tartan with white and red, the colours were inspired by the province’s official anthem, “Ode to Newfoundland”.
Nova Scotia’s tartan was designed by Bessie Murray and was officially adopted by the province in the Nova Scotia Tartan Act of 1963.
Ontario’s tartan was designed in 1965 by Rotex Ltd but wasn’t officially adopted by the province until 2000 the the Tartan Act received Royal Assent.
The Plaid du Québec is the only tartan which has not been officially adopted by it’s province, let’s hope it reaches official status in the near future.
The Saskatchewan tartan was designed in 1961 by Mrs. Frank Bastedo. Saskatchewan has an identity as the “bread basket” of Canada which influenced the tartan’s pale yellow base colour.
If you are looking for any of the other Canadian provincial tartans just get in touch and we will be sure to help you source this. We’ll let you get back to celebrating now… Happy Canada Day!