Well before the coming of the first European settlers, Canada’s aboriginal peoples had discovered the food properties of maple sap, which they gathered every spring. According to many historians, the maple leaf began to serve as a Canadian symbol as early as 1700.
In 1834, Ludger Duvernay is reported to have proposed the maple leaf as an emblem of Canada.
In 1914, many Canadian soldiers wore the maple leaf on their military badges, and it was the dominant symbol used by many Canadian regiments serving in World War I.
The idea of setting aside one day each year to honor the role of Scots in the early history of Canada was put forward in the late 1980s by Mrs. Jean Watson of Nova Scotia. Mrs. Watson worked tirelessly to solicit support from politicians and Scottish groups in Nova Scotia to establish Tartan Day, eventually gaining enough support for the idea to have it accepted.
It is in this spirit of honor that the Maple Leaf symbol of Canada and the distinctive tartans are blended to commemorate the contributions of High and Lowlanders everywhere.