Celebrating the Fleurdelisé

4 May to 22 September 2024

The exhibition traces the history of the adoption of the Fleurdelisé as the official flag of Quebec and celebrates its anniversary. On January 21, 1948, the Fleurdelisé became the official flag of Quebec, ending the use of various flags to represent Quebec, such as the British Union Jack and the French tricolor, neither of which had a consensus.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the emergence of Quebec Catholic nationalism encouraged the search for a distinctive symbol that would respect French heritage without associating Quebec with the French secular Republic. French Canadians will opt for French symbols such as the fleur de lys, symbol of French royalty. Others prefer to use the Union Jack to mark their belonging to the British crown.

In order to provide French Canadians with a flag that reflected their identity, Father Elphège Filiatrault designed the modern Carillon. Inspired by the Carillon banner, this flag becomes the precursor of the fleurdelisé with its white cross and fleur-de-lys on an azure background. In 1903, the National Flag Committee added the Sacré-Cœur, creating the Carillon Sacré-Cœur flag. During the first half of the 20th century, the two flags were used simultaneously and alongside the French tricolor, although the official flag remained the Union Jack.

The motion for a distinctive Quebec flag ultimately led to the adoption of the fleurdelisé by the government of Maurice Duplessis in 1948! This flag takes up the main elements of the modern Carillon, but with certain modifications such as the straightening of the fleurs-de-lys. Since then, fleurdelisé has symbolized Quebec identity, uniting Quebecers around its colors and patterns.

The story of the Fleurdelisé told in the exhibition allows us to commemorate the anniversary of its adoption and brilliantly illustrates our collective Quebec pride!

An exhibition by Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal Archaeology and History Complex, through the support of the Ministère de la Langue française, adapted by La Pulperie. 

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