Quebec - National Symbols

National Symbols

In 1939, the government of Quebec unilaterally ratified its coat of arms to reflect Quebec's political history: French rule (gold lily on blue background), British rule (lion on red background) and Canadian rule (maple leaves) and with Quebec's motto below "Je me souviens". Je me souviens ("I remember") was first carved under the coat of arms of Quebec's Parliament Building façade in 1883. It is an official part of the coat of arms and has been the official license plate motto since 1978, replacing "La belle province" (the beautiful province). The expression La belle province is still used mostly in tourism as a nickname for the province.

The fleur-de-lis, the ancient symbol of the French monarchy, first arrived on the shores of the Gaspésie in 1534 with Jacques Cartier on his first voyage. When Samuel de Champlain founded Québec City in 1608, his ship hoisted the merchant flag of a white cross on a blue background. By 1758 at the Battle of Carillon, the Flag of Carillon would become the basis of Quebec's desire to have its own flag. By 1903, the parent of today's flag had taken shape, known as the "Fleurdelisé". The flag in its present form with its 4 white "fleur-de-lis" lilies on a blue background with a white cross replaced the Union Jack on Quebec's Parliament Building on January 21, 1948.

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