Canadian plaid is so much more than just the stereotypical black and red checkered pattern featured in Roots ads.
In fact, that type of plaid is actually called ‘Buffalo’ plaid, which is not authentically Canadian but instead has roots in Scottish heritage. It was only since 1850 that it began to filter through Western society, starting from Pennsylvania’s iconic Woolrich mill and eventually spreading north to Canada’s lumberjacks.
Nevertheless, plaid is a huge part of Canada’s history, especially considering the country’s deep ties to Scotland. Every year on April 6, Scottish-Canadians wear traditional tartans to celebrate the anniversary of Scotland’s independence.
As a part of this tradition, every province and territory (except for Nunavut) has been assigned their own special tartans. The Canadian Geographic created a useful map to show the distinctions between each province’s plaid patterns:
Each tartan uses different colours to represent characteristics that distinguish the province from the others. For example, Alberta’s tartan uses green to represent the province’s forests, and the gold to represent the province’s grain fields.
The Canadian Geographic offers an in-depth explanation of each tartan’s colours and the histories behind them. For more interesting facts, read their article on regional tartans here.
Would you rock your province’s plaid?