Air Force receives new Colours

The Royal Canadian Air Force is presented with new Colours during a military parade and ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Sept. 1. Photo by Sergeant Christopher Bentley, 16 Wing Imaging

The Royal Canadian Air Force is presented with new Colours during a military parade and ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Sept. 1. Photo by Sergeant Christopher Bentley, 16 Wing Imaging

RCAF Public Affairs ~

Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada David Johnston presented the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) with new Colours during a military parade and ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, on Sept. 1.

Colours are consecrated ceremonial flags carried by designated Canadian Armed Forces combatant formations and units. The RCAF carries two Colours: the Queen’s Colour, a maple leaf flag with the Sovereign’s cypher in the centre, which symbolizes loyalty to the Crown, and the Command Colour, a blue flag with the RCAF’s badge at the centre, symbolizing the RCAF’s pride, cohesion, and valour. The RCAF Colours replace the Air Command Colours that were presented 35 years ago in 1982.

“Our Colours are precious, and embody the pride, dedication, duty, and honour of all RCAF personnel, past and present,” said Lieutenant-General Michael Hood, Commander of the RCAF. “As we accept these new Colours, all members of the RCAF, regardless of rank, occupation, or experience, symbolically rededicate themselves to upholding these qualities. I am delighted that we are celebrating this historical event with the citizens of Toronto, a city rich in RCAF history and present-day connections.”

Before presenting the new Colours, Governor General Johnston reviewed the parade.

Coinciding with the parade, the RCAF, with civilian partners from Vintage Wings of Canada and the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, conducted a “parade of aircraft” in the sky above Nathan Phillips Square. The flypast included vintage aircraft from the Second World War and aircraft from current RCAF fleets. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the CF-18 Demonstration Hornet, which are in Toronto for the Canadian International Air Show Sept. 2-4, participated.

The RCAF was the first of the Commonwealth air forces to be granted, as a service, the privilege of carrying the King’s Colour, which it received in 1950 together with the RCAF Colour. Both were presented in the name of King George VI on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, on the King’s birthday, June 5, 1950, by the Governor-General, Viscount Alexander of Tunis.

These were replaced by the Air Command Colours in 1982. The 1982 Command Colour carried the badge of Air Command.

The new Command Colour reflects the new RCAF badge that was created following the restoration of the RCAF’s historic name in 2011, and includes the RCAF’s motto Sic itur ad astra: “Such is the pathway to the stars.” The new Queen’s Colour carries the Royal Canadian Air Force’s restored name.

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