Symbols of Nunavut will be added to Centennial Flame

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The Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings is shown through the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, January 25, 2015. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Canada’s newest territory will get its place of honour in one of the most photographed landmarks in the national capital as part of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

The Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, will be inscribed with the official symbols of Nunavut, federal officials announced Monday.

An extra panel will be added to the 12-sided structure that features one panel for each province and territory that existed prior to January 1, 1967.

“By including the symbols of Nunavut, the Centennial Flame will now fully reflect Canada from coast to coast to coast,” Heritage Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement. “This beautiful territory may be the newest addition to Confederation, but its history and heritage run deep in our identity.”

On December 31, 1966, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson launched Canada’s 100th anniversary celebrations by lighting the Flame for the first time.

The monument features the bronze shield of each of the provinces and territories, as well as the date each joined Confederation and their respective floral emblems. These are joined by the fountain’s water, representing Canada’s unity from coast to coast to coast.

The Centennial Flame, will be inscribed with the official symbols of Nunavut. Although an extra panel will be added, the concept will stay the same: the 12-sided structure will be deconstructed and rebuilt with 13 sides to accommodate the new symbols. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

In 1967, Nunavut was still part of the Northwest Territories.

It became a separate territory on April 1, 1999.

The 12-sided structure will be deconstructed and rebuilt with 13 sides to accommodate the new symbols.

Construction will take place throughout the fall, and the refurbished monument is expected to be unveiled in December 2017.

“Nunavut plays an important role in protecting the sovereignty and security of Confederation,” George Qulaut, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut, said in a statement. “We look forward to having our symbols included on the Centennial Flame, ensuring that this special landmark honours all jurisdictions in Canada today.”

Nunavut Coat of Arms. (Government of Nunavut)

The shield of Nunavut is round and features an inuksuk, a stone monument, which guides the people on the land and marks sacred and other special places, a qulliq, an Inuit stone lamp, five gold circles representing the arc of the Sun, and the North Star.

The official territorial flower is purple saxifrage, which represents the resilience and perseverance of the territory. The territorial motto is Nunavut Sanginivut (“Nunavut, our strength”).

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Levon Sevunts

Levon Sevunts, Radio Canada International

Born and raised in Armenia, Levon started his journalistic career in 1990, covering wars and civil strife in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In 1992, after the government in Armenia shut down the TV program he was working for, Levon immigrated to Canada. He learned English and eventually went back to journalism, working first in print and then in broadcasting. Levon’s journalistic assignments have taken him from the High Arctic to Sahara and the killing fields of Darfur, from the streets of Montreal to the snow-capped mountaintops of Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. He says, “But best of all, I’ve been privileged to tell the stories of hundreds of people who’ve generously opened up their homes, refugee tents and their hearts to me.”

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