Flags and national symbols

From 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 flag
Flag 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
Coat of arms 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).

Floral emblem
Floral emblem 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.

Official bird
Snowy owl 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.

Official tree
Yellow birch 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.


The words Je me souviens were used for the first time in 1883, on the façade of the Parliament buildings. They were inscribed above the main door, reflecting the goals of the building's architect, who had designed the façade as a lasting reminder of Québec's history. The motto became official on December 9, 1939. For more information about the national flag and emblems, visit the Québec portal.

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