The current flag of Montreal was first displayed in May 1939, and is based on the city's coat of arms.
The red heraldic cross represents the "Christian motives and principles which governed the founders of the city," according to the city's official web site. The four floral emblems represent the four main European ethnic groups that were settled in the city in the 19th century. Clockwise from top left, they are:
- A blue Fleur-de-lys, of the Royal House of Bourbon, representing the French, the original settlers of the city.
(The original coat of arms on which the flag is modelled had a beaver in place of the fleur-de-lys until 1936.
- A red Rose of Lancaster, representing the English and the Welsh.
- A shamrock, representing the Irish.
- A thistle, representing the Scots.