Red EnsignRed Ensign
is a term for flags used by British
colonies' merchant marines. It refers to a red flag with the Union Jack
in the canton and a shield or other device in the fly.
The term is often used in particular to refer to the Canadian Red Ensign
, the former de facto national flag
. From 1892
it was the official flag for use on Canadian merchant ships, but on land the official national flag was the Union Jack. Despite its lack of official status the Red Ensign was widely used on land as well. In 1924
it was approved for use on Canadian government buildings outside Canada, and in 1945
for those inside Canada as well. The Red Ensign served until 1965
when it was replaced by today's maple-leaf flag
. The flag bore various forms of the shield from the Canadian coat of arms
in its fly during the period of its use. The picture shows the official form between 1957 and 1965.
Two Canadian provincial flags are Red Ensigns, the flag of Ontario and the flag of Manitoba.
See also White Ensign, Blue Ensign, and Yellow Ensign.