Flags and national symbolsFrom history to nature
While Québec's flag and coat of arms reflect a political choice clearly spotlighted in the province's history and teachings, its floral and animal emblems offer a unique glimpse into Québec's “true nature”!
The fleur-de-lis flag was raised for the first time at the Parliament buildings in Québec City in 1948. The lilies are a legacy of French royalty, and date back over 1,000 years. The royal blue background is a reminder of the coat of arms of the ruling sovereigns in the days when France dominated North America.
Coat of arms and motto
The Québec coat of arms features three gold lilies on a blue background, symbolizing the French regime, a gold leopard on a red background, symbolizing the British regime, and a branch with three maple leaves, symbolizing Canada. Below the shield is a banner with the motto Je me souviens (I remember).
The blue flag (Iris versicolor Linné) was selected as the floral emblem of Québec on October 28, 1999, replacing the white lily (lilium candidum). The heraldic fleur-de-lis on the Québec flag was long considered the floral emblem of Québec.
The snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) was chosen as Québec's official bird in 1987. It symbolizes the white of our winters, our roots in a semi-Nordic climate and throughout Québec, as well as environmental protection and nature conservation.
The yellow birch (Betula Alleghianensis Britton) was chosen as Québec's official tree in 1993. It is not only one of our best-known noble species, but is also noteworthy for the variety of ways in which it can be used and for its high commercial value. It is used in furniture making and is much admired for its colourful fall foliage.