The Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster is observed in Canada on December 11 each year to mark the statute’s establishment. The Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together on this day.
Is Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster a Public Holiday?
Even though the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster falls on Saturday, December 11, 2021, it is a working day. Most businesses follow regular opening hours in Canada.
Flags Up from Sunrise to Sunset
Businesses, individuals and government offices across Canada observe the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster on this day. Canada’s national flag and the Royal Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, are flown from sunrise to sunset. The flags can be seen at federal buildings, airports, military bases and other government establishments.
What’s Open or Closed?
The Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster is not a public holiday but government and military officials ensure that the Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together from sunrise to sunset on this day.
About the Day
The original Royal Union flag, or Union Jack, was first raised at a British settlement in Newfoundland, Canada, after 1610. In 1870 the flag was incorporated into the flags of the Governor-General and the Lieutenant Governors of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In 1904 the flag became a Canadian symbol and was used by Canadian troops during World War I.
However, for many years during the early 20th century, Canada sought to gain formal recognition of its autonomy from the United Kingdom. Finally, in 1931 the Statute of Westminster, 1931, which was an Act of the British Parliament, gave Canada its autonomy. This statute marks the independence of Canada as the nation that it is today.
In 1964 Canada’s parliament approved for the Royal Union flag to be used as a symbol of Canada’s membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and of the nation’s allegiance to the British Crown. Canada remains close with the United Kingdom and flies the Royal Union Flag along with the Canadian flag for occasions such as the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster, Commonwealth Day, and Victoria Day.
The Royal Union Flag, which is seen on the arms of British Columbia and on the flags of Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, incorporates the diagonal cross of St Patrick with England’s St George’s cross and Scotland’s St Andrew’s cross. The Canadian flag is red and white, the official colours of Canada, with a stylized 11-point red leaf in its center. When flown together, there must be at least two flag poles and the Canadian flag takes precedence, never being replaced by the Union Jack.