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The ribbon of the Order of Canada is based upon the National Flag of Canada, although the flag is to some degree modelled upon the ribbon of the Canada General Service Medal, 1866-1870. 

Canada General Service Medal; Fenian Raids; Canada honors; canadian honours

Canada General Service
Medal, 1866-1870.

Viscount Alexander of Tunis, during his term as Governor General, was the first to suggest that a Canadian order use a red-white-red ribbon.  In March of 1948 he wrote to Prime Minister Mackenzie King to suggest that it was time for Canada to have its own national honour. Alexander proposed that the ribbon of the Order be ‘Red White Red.' This idea would stick and later be proposed by Vincent Massey in 1966, early on in the discussions surrounding the establishment of the Order of Canada for the 1967 Centennial. To him this also helped to emphasize the symbolic link between the national flag and the national order. 

Lord Alexander; Governor General of Canada; Order of Canada

Field Marshal, Viscount Alexander of Tunis, Canada's Governor General, 1946-1952.

Order of Canada; Order of Canada ribbons; ORder of Canada undress ribbons; maple leaf flag; canada honors; canada honours

The ribbons for the Companions of the Order of Canada, the Medal of Courage and the Medal of Service were to be of the same design – this design was retained in 1972 when the Medals of Courage and Service were abolished and replaced by the Officer and Member levels of the Order of Canada.


The undress ribbons – those worn on the uniforms of military personnel – were differentiated by small 11-point maple leaf devices placed in the centre of the ribbon. For the Order of Canada it was decided that Companions would wear a red-enamelled maple leaf edged in gold; Officers a plain gold maple leaf; Members a plain silver maple leaf.

Field Marshal, Viscount Alexander of Tunis, Canada's Governor General, 1946-1952.

Member of the Order of Canada; Order of Canada; Canada honours; canadian honors
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