Get to know Montréal’s flag and coat of arms

published on August 21, 2018
Tourisme Montréal: News and People What's New in Montréal

Unveiled on September 13, 2017 – the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Montréal’s new flag and coat of arms pays tribute to all of those who contributed to the city’s development. The five symbols recognize the city’s founding peoples: white pine at the centre for the indigenous roots, the rose for the English, the thistle for the Scottish, the clover for the Irish and the fleur-de-lis for the French.

When visiting Montréal, each group’s rich history is worth some exploration during downtime or extra days in the city. History buffs and attendees who’ve already experienced Montréal as a conference location will love these new, infinitely fascinating angles to view the city.

Indigenous Peoples represented by the white pine

The Haundenosaunee Confederacy (known as the League of Five Nations by the English and the Iroquois Confederacy by the French) translates as “the people of the long house” and represents five nations: the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas and Mohawks. The white pine’s needles grow in clusters of five, and its sheltering branches and strong roots make for a perfect symbolization of the Great Tree of Peace, an important part of Haundenosaunee history.

Each August, the First Peoples Festival celebrates first nations history, culture, storytelling and arts in downtown Montréal. The Ashukan Cultural Space in Old Montréal was the first and remains the only permanent space in Canada dedicated to the dissemination of Aboriginal arts, artists and culture. And your guests can sample First Nations cuisine at the Round House Café, prepared by Montréal chef George Lenser.

The Irish represented by a green shamrock

“Neither snow nor rain” may be a saying most famously connected to the postal service, but it also befits Montréal’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which has been held continuously every year since 1824 despite blizzards and economic depression. It is, in fact, the oldest in Canada and the oldest continuously held St. Paddy’s parade in North America. But if your event isn’t taking place in March, your Irish-loving attendees will love Montréal’s Irish pubs 365 days a year.

The Scots represented by a purple thistle

Take a wander around the Golden Square Mile and see a who’s-who of Scottish families involved in Montréal’s boom era from 1840 to 1930, and those hankering for traditional Scottish grub won’t want to miss the haggis at Ye Old Orchard Pub and Grill’s five locations across the city. And each August, the Montréal Highland Games bring together highland dancers, athletes and pipe bands in a celebration of Scottish culture.

The French represented by a blue Fleur-de-lys

Montréal’s culinary scene includes some of the world’s finest (and affordable) French restaurants, and the city’s French heritage comes out in force each July 14 for Bastille Day, where locals don berets and sing La Marseillaise in Parc Mont-Royal. And one of the city’s biggest annual music events is the FrancoFolies festival that brings close to one million festival-goers to its over 250 shows (180 of which are free outdoor performances), all en français.

The English (and Welsh) represented by the red Rose of Lancaster

Get a feel for Montréal’s English history at the Burgundy Lion, an old-school British pub that transports you right to old Blighty. The city’s tea houses also make for the perfect stop-off for a cuppa, while the High Tea service at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel will leave your attendees feeling like royalty. It was also here that John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their Bed-In for Peace and recorded Give Peace a Chance in room 1742.

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