Montreal unveils new flag with Indigenous symbol

New Montreal flag

After nearly eight decades, the city of Montreal has modified its flag.

The flag, introduced in 1939, features symbols of Montreal's "founding peoples" — the French fleur-de-lys, the English Rose of Lancaster, the Scottish thistle and the Irish shamrock.

On Wednesday morning at City Hall, a flag bearing a symbol for another "founding people" was raised for the first time — a white pine tree representing the Indigenous nations that lived here before the arrival of the Europeans.

A white pine also now graces the city's coat of arms.

Earlier this year, mayor Denis Coderre said he had wanted to modify the city's flag to honor the contributions of Indigenous communities.

In the same spirit, the mayor is also expected to announce that Amherst St., in the east-central part of downtown Montreal, will get a new name.

The street is named for Jeffrey Amherst, the former British general who advocated exterminating Montreal's Indigenous population by giving them blankets infected with smallpox.

Amherst led British forces in capturing the cities of Louisbourg, Quebec City and Montreal in the mid-1700's, and later became the first British Governor General in the territories that eventually became Canada.