Canada (unofficial, c.1873-1896)
The original coat of arms of Canada featured four quarters representing Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. As more provinces joined Confederation, flag manufacturers would add their symbols to the badge on the red ensign, even though the coat of arms was never officially changed. As a result, most flags produced during Canada’s first half-century were unofficial. The badges on these ensigns would often be embellished by large white discs, garlands of maple leaves, and crowns.
The flag makers were so quick to update their designs that they ended up assigning unofficial symbols to new provinces that hadn’t adopted a coat of arms. Before 1906, British Columbia was represented by a royal crest flanked by the letters B and C. And when the province of Alberta was created in 1905, some manufacturers chose to represent it with the unofficial arms that had been designed for the Yukon or the Northwest Territories. As a result, there was year or so where Alberta was inexplicably represented by either a mountain range full of gold or a polar bear.
All of this came to an end in 1921, when a new non-province-based coat of arms was granted to Canada and the red ensign was standardized.