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Maple leaf

From Academic Kids

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Maple leaves in fall

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The maple leaf is the characteristic leaf of the maple tree, and is an important national symbol of Canada.

Its use as a Canadian symbol dates back as far as the 1700s, when the English, Scottish, and Irish populations in Canada would all display their national plant at certain gatherings. Individuals with only a distant affiliation to their country of origin and wishing to be considered Canadians, began wearing the maple leaf.

The maple leaf slowly caught on as a national symbol: in 1868, it was included in the coat of arms of both Ontario and Quebec, and was added to the Canadian coat of arms in 1921. In 1867, Alexander Muir composed the patriotic The Maple Leaf Forever, which became an unofficial anthem in English-speaking Canada. From 1876 until 1901, the leaf appeared on all Canadian coins, and remained on the penny after 1901. During the First and Second World Wars, the leaf was widely used as a regimental symbol. The maple leaf finally became the central national symbol with the intoduction of the Canadian flag in 1965, which uses a highly-stylized eleven-pointed maple leaf, refering to no specific species of maple.

Since 1979, the Royal Canadian Mint also produces gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins, which are officially known as Maple Leafs.

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