The official emblems and symbols of Yukon represent the natural beauty of the territory and the history and culture of its people.
Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) was chosen as Yukon's floral emblem in 1957. It is a hardy plant and grows along Yukon roadsides, river bars and clearings from mid-July to September. Its blooms are a bright magenta, making it one of the most attractive plants in the North. It’s also one of the first plants to appear after a forest fire.
The raven was adopted as Yukon's official bird in 1985 and it is seen everywhere in Yukon. It is a very intelligent bird and an opportunistic feeder, feasting on everything from carrion to groceries left in the back of pick-up trucks.
The raven is the largest member of the crow family and has a body length of up to 70 centimetres.
The raven is called "Crow" by Yukon First Nations people and is the subject of many stories passed from generation to generation.
Lazulite is an azure-blue semi-precious gemstone. It was proclaimed as Yukon's official gemstone in 1976. It is the only semi-precious gemstone found in any quantity in the territory. Lazulite is a rare and beautiful phosphorous-based mineral. Its monetary value is based on its beauty and scarcity; as a cut stone it is relatively soft and can be scratched with a knife.
Well-formed crystals of the gemstone occur in only a few places in the world. In Yukon, lazulite is found in the layered sedimentary rock of the Blow River area in Ivvavik National Park, 32 kilometres south of the Beaufort Sea. The colour and crystalline qualities of Yukon's lazulite are among the finest in the world.
The Yukon tartan is a recent and non-traditional addition to the world's official tartans. The woven cloth is composed of green, dark blue, magenta, yellow and white stripes in varying widths on a light blue background.
The crystalline blue background represents Yukon's sky and the green symbolizes the territory's forests. White symbolizes snow and yellow suggest Yukon's gold. Magenta is the colour of fireweed, Yukon's floral emblem, and dark blue represents the mountains.
The Yukon tartan was designed by Janet Couture of Watson Lake in 1965 and was first proposed as the official territorial tartan during the 1967 Canadian centennial celebrations. The tartan was accepted years later by the King of Arms of Her Majesty's New Registry House in Edinburgh in October 1984. A Yukon Tartan Act was passed by the Yukon Legislature in 1984.
The sub-alpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) was selected as Yukon’s official tree in 2001.
The sub-alpine fir can range from 6 to 20 metres tall and is found in the regions south of Dawson City and east of Haines Junction.
It usually grows at higher elevations. Its short, stiff branches slope downward, which allow it to withstand heavy loads of snow and ice in the high country.
The needles of sub-alpine fir produce a lemony-tasting tea, which is a traditional First Nations cold remedy rich in vitamin C. Sap drawn from the blisters on its bark has been used by First Nation people as a traditional medicine for lung ailments.
The Yukon Coat of Arms is a red, blue, gold and white shield surmounted by a malamute (or husky) standing on a mound of snow.
Wavy vertical white and blue stripes represent the Yukon River and the gold-bearing creeks of the Klondike.
Red spire-like forms represent the territory's mountains and the gold circles within symbolize mineral resources.
At the top of the shield is a cross of St. George in recognition of the early English explorers and a "roundel in vair" as a symbol of the fur trade.
The Yukon's Coat of Arms was commissioned by the federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and designed by well-known heraldry expert Alan Beddoes in the early 1950s. It was approved officially by Queen Elizabeth II in 1956.
The Yukon flag is the product of a territory-wide design competition sponsored by the Whitehorse branch of the Royal Canadian Legion as part of Canada's 1967 centennial year celebrations.
There were 137 submissions. Lynn Lambert of Destruction Bay submitted several designs in hopes of winning the contest. One of his designs was officially accepted as the territorial flag in 1968.
The Yukon flag has three vertical panels: a green panel on the inner edge, a central panel of white and a blue panel on the outer edge. The Yukon Coat of Arms appears on the central panel framed by two stems of fireweed. The green symbolizes the forests, white signifies snow and the blue represents Yukon's rivers and lakes.
More information about flying the Yukon flag next to other flags and when to lower to half mast can be found on the Protocol Office site.