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Canadian heraldry

Canadian heraldry

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Encyclopedia
Canadian heraldry is the cultural tradition and style of coats of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 and other heraldic
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 achievements in both modern and historic Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It includes national, provincial, and civic arms, noble
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 and personal arms, ecclesiastical heraldry
Ecclesiastical heraldry
Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Initially used to mark documents, ecclesiastical heraldry evolved as a system for identifying people and dioceses. It is most formalized within the Catholic Church, where most bishops, including the Pope, have a...

, heraldic displays as corporate logo
Logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...

s, and Canadian heraldic descriptions
Blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

.

Derived mainly from heraldic traditions in France
French heraldry
French heraldry is the use of heraldic symbols in France. Although it had a considerable history, like England, existing from the eleventh century, such formality has largely died out in France. The role of the herald in France declined in the seventeenth century...

 and the United Kingdom, Canadian heraldry also incorporates distinctly Canadian symbols
National symbols of Canada
National symbols of Canada are the symbols that are used in Canada and abroad to represent the country and its people. Prominently, the use of the maple leaf as a Canadian symbol dates back to the early 18th century, and is depicted on its current and previous flags, the penny, and on the coat of...

, especially native flora and fauna, references to the First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 and other aboriginal
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

 peoples of Canada, and uniquely Canadian elements such as the Canadian pale
Canadian pale
In vexillology a Canadian pale is a centre band of a vertical triband flag that covers half the length of a flag, rather than a third in most triband designs. This allows more space to display a central image . The name was suggested by Dr. George Stanley, and first used by Elizabeth II of Canada...

, derived from the Canadian flag
Flag of Canada
The national flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and , is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag...

. A unique system of cadency
Cadency
In heraldry, cadency is any systematic way of distinguishing similar coats of arms belonging to members of the same family. Cadency is necessary in heraldic systems in which a given design may be owned by only one person at once...

 is used for daughters inheriting arms, and a special symbol for United Empire Loyalists.

In 1988, governance of both personal and corporate heraldry in Canada was patriated from the heraldic authorities in England
College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

 and Scotland
Court of the Lord Lyon
The Court of the Lord Lyon, also known as the Lyon Court, is a standing court of law which regulates heraldry in Scotland. Like the College of Arms in England it maintains the register of grants of arms, known as the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, as well as records of...

, with the formation of the Canadian Heraldic Authority
Canadian Heraldic Authority
The Canadian Heraldic Authority is part of the Canadian honours system under the Queen of Canada, whose authority is exercised by the Governor General. The Authority is responsible for the creation and granting of new coats of arms , flags and badges for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and...

, which now has exclusive jurisdiction over granting awards of arms in Canada. Coats of arms are used throughout Canada by all levels of government, in many cases including royal insignia as a mark of authority, as in the recently granted arms of the House of Commons and the Senate, and of Parliament as a combined body. Use of armorial bearings is not limited to governmental bodies; all citizens of Canada have the right to petition for an award of arms, as do other entities including businesses and religious institutions. The granting of arms is regarded as an honour from the monarch, via the governor general
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

, and thus are bestowed only on those whom the Chief Herald has deemed worthy of receiving a grant of arms.

History



The history of heraldry in Canada began with the raising of the Royal Arms of France
Coat of arms of France
The current emblem of France has been a symbol of France since 1953, although it does not have any legal status as an official coat of arms. It appears on the cover of French passports and was adopted originally by the French Foreign Ministry as a symbol for use by diplomatic and consular missions...

 by French explorer Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. He was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big...

 in 1534, when he landed on Canadian soil at what is now known as the Gaspé Peninsula
Gaspé Peninsula
The Gaspésie , or Gaspé Peninsula or the Gaspé, is a peninsula along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, extending into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence...

. From the beginning of the settlement
History of Canada
The history of Canada covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to the present day. Canada has been inhabited for millennia by distinctive groups of Aboriginal peoples, among whom evolved trade networks, spiritual beliefs, and social hierarchies...

 of Canada until the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1763)
The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763, by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

 in 1763, armorial bearings were largely either brought from France or awarded by the French crown. A notable exception is the Coat of Arms of Nova Scotia
Coat of arms of Nova Scotia
The coat of arms of the province of Nova Scotia is the oldest provincial achievement of arms in Canada, and the oldest British coat of arms outside Great Britain. It was granted in 1625 by King Charles I for the first Scottish colony on the Canadian mainland...

, awarded in 1625 by Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 (making it the oldest coat of arms in the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom), in use until 1868, when it was replaced by a new achievement. The original was later rediscovered, and replaced the 1868 version in 1929. The present-day Coat of Arms of Newfoundland and Labrador
Coat of arms of Newfoundland and Labrador
The coat of arms of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador was originally granted by King Charles I of England on 13 November 1638-History:...

 was granted to a private company shortly after that of Nova Scotia, although it did not enter use as the region's arms until the 1920s. The Coat of Arms of the Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company
The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

 was first used in 1671 (although no record of the original grant exists, and it was not registered with the College of Arms in London until 1921), and has been in continual use with minor cosmetic changes to the official depiction ever since.

Upon ratification of the Treaty of Paris, the British Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

 confirmed the French awards of arms. Between 1763 and 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

, there is little evidence of much heraldic activity. After Confederation, however, heraldry in Canada became more widespread, including grants of arms to the provinces, various educational institutions, municipalities, and individuals. In the immediate post-Confederation period, arms were granted to New Brunswick
Coat of arms of New Brunswick
The original coat of arms of New Brunswick was granted to New Brunswick by a Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria on 26 May 1868. The provincial flag is a banner of the arms.-History:...

, Nova Scotia
Coat of arms of Nova Scotia
The coat of arms of the province of Nova Scotia is the oldest provincial achievement of arms in Canada, and the oldest British coat of arms outside Great Britain. It was granted in 1625 by King Charles I for the first Scottish colony on the Canadian mainland...

, Ontario
Coat of arms of Ontario
The coat of arms of Ontario was granted by Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria on 26 May 1868. This arms of Canada was shared with the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador and also used in the Canadian Red Ensign. The Dominion arms was simple and lacked supporters...

, and Quebec
Coat of arms of Quebec
The coat of arms of Quebec was adopted by order-in-council of the Quebec government on 9 December 1939, replacing the arms assigned by royal warrant of Queen Victoria on 26 May 1868.The shield is divided into three horizontal fields:...

, although not to the country as a whole. In the period between the Treaty of Paris and Confederation, the Arms of the United Kingdom
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom, and are officially known as her Arms of Dominion...

 had served as the emblem of authority within Canada.

From 1763 until 1988, heraldry in Canada was under the authority of the College of Arms
College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

 in London and the Court of the Lord Lyon
Court of the Lord Lyon
The Court of the Lord Lyon, also known as the Lyon Court, is a standing court of law which regulates heraldry in Scotland. Like the College of Arms in England it maintains the register of grants of arms, known as the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, as well as records of...

 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

. In the late 1980s, the Queen issued Letters Patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

 creating the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

Official


Before the creation of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, Canadians wishing to obtain a legally granted coat of arms had to apply to one of the two heraldic offices in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

: either the College of Arms
College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 or, if of Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 descent, the Court of the Lord Lyon
Court of the Lord Lyon
The Court of the Lord Lyon, also known as the Lyon Court, is a standing court of law which regulates heraldry in Scotland. Like the College of Arms in England it maintains the register of grants of arms, known as the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, as well as records of...

 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

. This process was quite lengthy—and costly. In addition, the herald
Herald
A herald, or, more correctly, a herald of arms, is an officer of arms, ranking between pursuivant and king of arms. The title is often applied erroneously to all officers of arms....

s in Britain could sometimes be unfamiliar with Canadian history and symbols. In time, many Canadians with an interest in heraldry began calling for an office that would offer armorial bearings designed by and for Canadians.

As early as 1967, plans were reportedly in the works to transfer overview of heraldry from the College of Arms in the UK to Canada. The push for a wholly Canadian heraldic system came largely from the Heraldry Society of Canada (now the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada
Royal Heraldry Society of Canada
The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada is a Canadian organization that promotes the art of Canadian Heraldry. Founded as the Heraldry Society of Canada, the mission of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada and its branches is to promote the art of heraldry, particularly Canadian heraldry, and to...

) almost from its inception, though it was not seen as a priority by successive national governments. In 1986, Vicki Huntington
Vicki Huntington
Victoria Huntington is a Canadian politician who was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in 2009 as an Independent candidate for Delta South.-Political career:...

, a politician from British Columbia, forwarded a brief written by the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada calling for the creation of the Canadian Heraldic Authority to a staff member in then-Secretary of State David Crombie's office. Mr. Crombie had his department organise a meeting in Ottawa the following year, to which many national and international heraldic experts were invited. The meeting concluded with "a strong recommendation to government that an Authority be created."

Two years later, on 4 June 1988, then-Governor General
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 Jeanne Sauvé
Jeanne Sauvé
Jeanne Mathilde Sauvé was a Canadian journalist, politician, and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 23rd since Canadian Confederation....

 authorised the creation of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, made possible by letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

 signed by Queen Elizabeth II, on the advice of her Canadian Privy Council, and presented by her son, Prince Edward
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO is the third son and fourth child of Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh...

. As a result Canada became the first Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

 outside the United Kingdom to have its own heraldic authority. Canada also provides full equality to women in terms of inheriting and transmitting arms. Additionally, all armiger
Armiger
In heraldry, an armiger is a person entitled to use a coat of arms. Such a person is said to be armigerous.-Etymology:The Latin word armiger literally means "armour-bearer". In high and late medieval England, the word referred to an esquire attendant upon a knight, but bearing his own unique...

s within Canada may file for trademark protection of their grant of arms under the Trade-Marks Act.

State and national


The Arms of Canada (also known as the Royal Arms of Canada or the Arms of Her Majesty in Right of Canada) has been, since 1921, the official coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 of the Canadian monarch, and thus also of Canada. It is derived from the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom, and are officially known as her Arms of Dominion...

, with distinctive Canadian elements—the maple leaves and the reference to the French Royal Arms in the fourth quarter—replacing or added to those derived from the British.

The arms are used as a mark of authority by various government agencies and representatives, including the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

 and Cabinet
Cabinet of Canada
The Cabinet of Canada is a body of ministers of the Crown that, along with the Canadian monarch, and within the tenets of the Westminster system, forms the government of Canada...

, the Speaker of the House of Commons
Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons
The Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada is the presiding officer of the lower house of the Parliament of Canada and is elected at the beginning of each new parliament by fellow Members of Parliament...

, most courts (including the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

), and, formerly, Parliament
Parliament of Canada
The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

. It is also present on all denominations of Canadian paper currency
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

 (the way the Arms are printed on each bill is a security feature), and on the cover of Canadian passport
Canadian passport
A Canadian passport is a passport issued to citizens of Canada for the purpose of international travel; allowing the bearer to travel in foreign countries in accordance with visa requirements; facilitating the process of securing assistance from Canadian consular officials abroad, if necessary; and...

s. Since 1962, a banner of the arms, defaced
Defacement (flag)
Defacement is a term used in heraldry and vexillology to refer to the addition of a symbol or charge to another flag. For example, the Australian flag is the British Blue Ensign defaced with the Southern Cross in the fly and the Commonwealth Star in the lower hoist quarter, beneath the Union...

 with a variant of the Queen's cypher
Royal Cypher
In modern heraldry, a royal cypher is a monogram-like device of a country's reigning sovereign, typically consisting of the initials of the monarch's name and title, sometimes interwoven and often surmounted by a crown. In the case where such a cypher is used by an emperor or empress, it is called...

, has formed the Royal Standard of Canada
Queen's Personal Canadian Flag
The royal standards of Canada are personal standards, or official flags, employed to mark the presence of the bearer at any building or area or aboard any car, ship, or airplane, both in Canada and abroad. There are three royal standards, one each for the monarch, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke...

, for use by the sovereign in her capacity as monarch of Canada. The personal flag of the Governor General
Flag of the Governor General of Canada
The Flag of the Governor General of Canada was adopted in 1981. It features Canada's royal crest; a crowned lion holding a red maple leaf in its paw, standing on a wreath of the official colours of Canada , on a blue background...

 has featured the crest of the arms of Canada on a blue background since 1981.

On 15 February 2008, the House of Commons was granted its own heraldic symbol following a request by Commons Speaker
Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons
The Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada is the presiding officer of the lower house of the Parliament of Canada and is elected at the beginning of each new parliament by fellow Members of Parliament...

 Peter Milliken
Peter Milliken
Peter Andrew Stewart Milliken, UE is a Canadian lawyer and politician. He was a member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1988 until his retirement in 2011 and served as Speaker of the House for 10 years beginning in 2001. Milliken represented the Ontario riding of Kingston and the Islands as a...

 to the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The new symbol for Parliament is a badge of the escutcheon in the Arms of Canada superimposed on the mace
Ceremonial mace
The ceremonial mace is a highly ornamented staff of metal or wood, carried before a sovereign or other high official in civic ceremonies by a mace-bearer, intended to represent the official's authority. The mace, as used today, derives from the original mace used as a weapon...

 used by the House of Commons as a symbol of its authority derived from the Crown. The Senate was granted a similar badge on 15 April 2008, using its own mace. Parliament as a whole has been granted the right to use the escutcheon of the Arms of Canada, superimposed over the maces of the Commons and Senate in saltire
Saltire
A saltire, or Saint Andrew's Cross, is a heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross or letter ex . Saint Andrew is said to have been martyred on such a cross....

.

In June 2008, MP
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 Pat Martin
Pat Martin
Patrick "Pat" Martin is a Canadian politician. He has been a member of the Canadian House of Commons since 1997, representing the riding of Winnipeg Centre for the New Democratic Party.-Career:...

 introduced a motion
Motion (democracy)
A motion is a formal step to introduce a matter for consideration by a group. It is a common concept in the procedure of trade unions, students' unions, corporations, and other deliberative assemblies...

 into the House of Commons
Canadian House of Commons
The House of Commons of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign and the Senate. The House of Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 308 members known as Members of Parliament...

 calling on the government to amend the coat of arms to incorporate symbols representing Canada's First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

, Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 and Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

 peoples.

Provincial


In much the same way that there is a national coat of arms, each province and territory
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 possesses its own unique arms; Saskatchewan's is known formally as Her Majesty's Arms in Right of Saskatchewan. The year after Confederation, Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 issued Royal Warrants assigning arms to Canada's original four provinces: Québec
Coat of arms of Quebec
The coat of arms of Quebec was adopted by order-in-council of the Quebec government on 9 December 1939, replacing the arms assigned by royal warrant of Queen Victoria on 26 May 1868.The shield is divided into three horizontal fields:...

, Ontario
Coat of arms of Ontario
The coat of arms of Ontario was granted by Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria on 26 May 1868. This arms of Canada was shared with the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador and also used in the Canadian Red Ensign. The Dominion arms was simple and lacked supporters...

, Nova Scotia
Coat of arms of Nova Scotia
The coat of arms of the province of Nova Scotia is the oldest provincial achievement of arms in Canada, and the oldest British coat of arms outside Great Britain. It was granted in 1625 by King Charles I for the first Scottish colony on the Canadian mainland...

, and New Brunswick
Coat of arms of New Brunswick
The original coat of arms of New Brunswick was granted to New Brunswick by a Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria on 26 May 1868. The provincial flag is a banner of the arms.-History:...

.

Each provincial coat of arms includes specific local symbolism; most also include symbolism derived from the coats of arms of the United Kingdom, France, or both. Since 1868, each province and territory within Canada has been granted arms through warrants either from the monarch directly or from the Governor General
Governor-General
A Governor-General, is a vice-regal person of a monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription. Depending on the political arrangement of the territory, a Governor General can be a governor of high rank, or a principal governor ranking above "ordinary" governors.- Current uses...

, or has assumed them through other means.

Apart from Newfoundland and Labrador
Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador
The flag of Newfoundland and Labrador was introduced in 1980, and was designed by Newfoundland artist Christopher Pratt. The flag design, with the proportions 2:1, was approved by the House of Assembly of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, on May 28, 1980. It was flown for the first...

, each province and territory bears at least some elements from its coat of arms upon its flag. The flags of British Columbia
Flag of British Columbia
The flag of British Columbia is based upon the shield of the provincial arms of British Columbia. At the top of the flag is a rendition of the Union Flag, defaced in the centre by a crown, representing the province's origins as a British colony, with a setting sun below.-History:The British...

, New Brunswick
Flag of New Brunswick
The flag of New Brunswick, Canada, is a banner modelled after the province's coat of arms and was adopted by proclamation on February 24, 1965....

, Nova Scotia
Flag of Nova Scotia
The flag of Nova Scotia, created in 1858, is a banner of the coat of arms of Nova Scotia, which were granted to the Scottish colony by Charles I, in 1625....

, and Prince Edward Island
Flag of Prince Edward Island
The flag of Prince Edward Island, Canada, is a banner modelled after the provincial arms. The flag has the proportions 2:3; the three sides away from the mast are bordered by alternating bands of red and white....

 are banners of the provincial arms, while Alberta
Flag of Alberta
In 1958, the Alberta Government authorized the design of an official flag. On 1 June 1968, the flag of Alberta, Canada, was adopted .The flag has the proportions 1:2, with the provincial shield of arms in the centre of a royal ultramarine blue background...

, Manitoba
Flag of Manitoba
The flag of Manitoba is a variation of the Red Ensign which bears the shield of the provincial coat of arms. This flag was approved by the passage of a bill in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly on May 11, 1965. Queen Elizabeth II having given permission for the use of the Union device in October...

, Ontario
Flag of Ontario
The flag of Ontario was enacted by the Flag Act on May 21, 1965 in the Legislature of the Province of Ontario. The flag is a defaced Red Ensign, with the Union Flag in the canton and the Ontario shield of arms in the fly....

, Saskatchewan
Flag of Saskatchewan
The flag of Saskatchewan features the armorial bearings in the upper quarter nearest the staff, with the floral emblem, the western red lily, in the fly. The upper green half of the flag represents the northern Saskatchewan forest lands, while the gold lower half symbolizes the southern, prairie...

, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon
Flag of Yukon
The flag of Yukon, Canada, is a green, white, and blue tricolour with the coat of arms of Yukon at the centre above a wreath of fireweed, the territorial flower. An official flag for Yukon was created during the 1960s, a decade where the national flag of Canada was chosen as well as several other...

 each have the shield of the local coat of arms on their flags, with other design elements. The flag of Nunavut
Flag of Nunavut
The flag of Nunavut was proclaimed on 1 April 1999, along with the territory of Nunavut in Canada. It features a red inukshuk—an Inuit land marker—and a blue star, which represents the Niqirtsuituq, the North Star, and the leadership of elders in the community. The colours represent the riches of...

 uses some elements from its coat of arms along with other symbols and colours. The shield of the arms of each province, on a blue background and circled with ten gold maple leaves, the whole surmounted by a crown, forms the main element of the flag of the Lieutenant-Governor of that province. The exceptions are Nova Scotia, which uses the Union Flag
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

 defaced with the shield of Nova Scotia, surrounded by green maple leaves, and Quebec, which uses the shield on a white circle with the provincial motto inscribed below.

Municipal


The use of armorial bearings among Canadian cities is inconsistent, because many of them have been assumed and brought into force by local governmental authorities, rather than granted from the Crown. Many municipal coats of arms either awarded or confirmed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority may be found within the Public Register of Arms
Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada
The Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada contains the heraldic emblems that have been granted, registered, approved or confirmed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority since its inception on June 4, 1988. In 2005, the Canadian Heraldic Authority began the process of creating a digital...

, though the online version of the Register is not complete.

Personal


In Canada, every citizen
Canadian nationality law
Canadian citizenship is typically obtained by birth in Canada, birth abroad when at least one parent is a Canadian citizen and was born or naturalized in Canada, or by adoption abroad by at least one Canadian citizen. It can also be granted to a permanent resident who lives in Canada for three out...

 has the right to petition the Crown for a grant of arms. Canadians who have been appointed to the Order of Canada
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

 are automatically entitled to receive an award of arms including the ribbon of the Order, or should they already be armigerous, to encircle their extant arms with the ribbon. Amongst others, all members of the Privy Council
Queen's Privy Council for Canada
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada ), sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council, is the full group of personal consultants to the monarch of Canada on state and constitutional affairs, though responsible government requires the sovereign or her viceroy,...

 are entitled to supporters in their arms, as are the Speakers of the House of Commons and the Senate
Speaker of the Canadian Senate
The Speaker of the Senate of Canada is the presiding officer of the Senate of Canada. The speaker represents the Senate at official functions, rules on questions of parliamentary procedure and parliamentary privilege, and oversee debates and voting in the red chamber. This position is often...

, Companions of the Order of Canada, Commanders of the Orders of Military Merit
Order of Military Merit (Canada)
The Order of Military Merit is a military honour for merit that is, within the Canadian system of honours, the second highest order administered by the Governor General-in-Council, on behalf of the Queen of Canada...

, Merit of the Police Forces
Order of Merit of the Police Forces
The Order of Merit of the Police Forces is an honour for merit that is, within the Canadian system of honours, the only such fellowship reserved only for members of Canada's various police forces...

, and of the Royal Victorian Order
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

.

Aboriginal and First Nations symbolism


Due to the history of Canada, heraldry in the country has incorporated aboriginal and First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 symbols and elements. The Coat of Arms of Nunavut
Coat of arms of Nunavut
The coat of arms of the territory of Nunavut was granted by a warrant of Roméo LeBlanc, Governor General of Canada, dated 31 March 1999, one day before the territory of Nunavut, Canada was created. The same document specified the flag of Nunavut.- Overview :...

, for example, includes elements such as an inukshuk
Inukshuk
An inuksuk is a stone landmark or cairn built by humans, used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. These structures are found from Alaska to Greenland...

, a qulliq, and an igloo
Igloo
An igloo or snowhouse is a type of shelter built of snow, originally built by the Inuit....

, all of which are references to the Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 peoples who live in the area, while the arms of the Canadian Heraldic Authority include raven
Raven
Raven is the common name given to several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus—but in Europe and North America the Common Raven is normally implied...

s, a First Nations symbol of creation and transformation. In addition, some Canadians choose to bear their arms on a roundel rather than a shield, a reference to a drumhead; an example is the coat of arms of Nunavut.

Cadency


In many systems of heraldry, the arms of each living person must be unique. English heraldry has used armorial variants to distinguish the arms of brothers from their father's arms and from each other since the thirteenth century; this is now normally done by the system of marks or brisures set up by the early Tudor herald John Writhe
John Writhe
John Writhe was a long-serving English officer of arms. He was probably the son of William Writhe, who represented the borough of Cricklade in the Parliament of 1450–51, and is most remembered for being the first Garter King of Arms to preside over the College of Arms...

. Canada adds a unique series of brisures for use by female children, who inherit arms. As in other heraldic systems, these cadency marks are not always used; in any case, when the heir succeeds (in Canada, the first child, whether male or female, according to strict primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

), the mark of cadency is removed and the heir uses the plain coat of arms.

Brisures
First Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth Seventh Eighth Ninth
Daughter
heart
Heart (symbol)
The heart has long been used as a symbol to refer to the spiritual, emotional, moral, and in the past, also intellectual core of a human being...

ermine
Ermine (heraldry)
Ermine is a heraldic fur representing the winter coat of the stoat . Many skins would be sewn together to make a luxurious garment, producing a pattern of small black spots on a white field...

 spot
snowflake
Snowflake
Snowflakes are conglomerations of frozen ice crystals which fall through the Earth's atmosphere. They begin as snow crystals which develop when microscopic supercooled cloud droplets freeze. Snowflakes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Complex shapes emerge as the flake moves through...

fir twig
chess rook
escallop
harp
Harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

buckle
Buckle
The buckle or clasp is a device used for fastening two loose ends, with one end attached to it and the other held by a catch in a secure but adjustable manner. Usually overlooked and taken for granted, the invention of the buckle has been indispensable in securing two ends before the invention of...

clarion
Clarichord
The clarichord, rest, clavicord or clarion is a rare charge in heraldry of uncertain origin and meaning. In Canadian heraldry, it is the cadency mark of a ninth daughter....

Son
label
Label (heraldry)
In heraldry, a label is a charge resembling the strap crossing the horse’s chest from which pendants are hung. It is usually a mark of difference, but has sometimes been borne simply as a charge in its own right....

 of three points
crescent
Crescent
In art and symbolism, a crescent is generally the shape produced when a circular disk has a segment of another circle removed from its edge, so that what remains is a shape enclosed by two circular arcs of different diameters which intersect at two points .In astronomy, a crescent...

mullet
martlet
Martlet
A martlet is a heraldic charge depicting a stylized bird with short tufts of feathers in the place of legs...

annulet
Annulet (ring)
In heraldry, an annulet is a common charge.It may allude to the custom of prelates to receive their investiture per baculum et annulum .In English heraldry it is also used as the difference mark of a fifth son....

fleur-de-lys
Fleur-de-lis
The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys is a stylized lily or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be "at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic", especially in heraldry...

rose
Rose (heraldry)
The rose is a common device in heraldry. It is often used both as a charge on a coat of arms and by itself as a heraldic badge. The heraldic rose has a stylized form consisting of five symmetrical lobes, five barbs, and a circular seed. The rose is one of the most common plant symbols in...

cross moline
Cross moline
The cross moline is a heraldic charge. It is so called because its shape resembles a millrind, moline being the Old French for a mill, the iron clamp of the upper millstone. It is very similar to one of the varieties of the "fer de moline" heraldic charge , the forked tips of which however...

double quatrefoil
Quatrefoil
The word quatrefoil etymologically means "four leaves", and applies to general four-lobed shapes in various contexts.-In heraldry:In heraldic terminology, a quatrefoil is a representation of a flower with four petals, or a leaf with four leaflets . It is sometimes shown "slipped", i.e. with an...


Charges, ordinaries, and divisions of the field


The Canadian pale
Pale (heraldry)
A pale is a term used in heraldic blazon and vexillology to describe a charge on a coat of arms , that takes the form of a band running vertically down the center of the shield. Writers broadly agree that the width of the pale ranges from about one-fifth to about one-third of the width of the...

, a pale division amounting to half the entire field, derived from the Canadian flag
Flag of Canada
The national flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and , is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag...

, is widely used in Canadian heraldry, while the Canadian fess
Fess
In heraldry, a fess or fesse is a charge on a coat of arms that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the centre of the shield. Writers disagree in how much of the shield's surface is to be covered by a fess or other ordinary, ranging from one-fifth to one-third...

, a similar horizontal division, has been used once. The term érablé, referring to maple leaves, is often used in Canadian arms. For example as a tressure érablé in the arms of the Monarchist League of Canada
Monarchist League of Canada
The Monarchist League of Canada is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is "to promote the full expression and a better understanding of the history and real benefits of a uniquely Canadian constitutional monarchy"....

, coronets érablé in the arms of Sudbury and Canada's National History Society, and as a partition much like engrailed
Engrailed
The Engrailed and Small Engrailed are moths of the family Geometridae. They are distributed across most of Europe. There is an on-going debate as to whether they make up one species, or whether E. crepuscularia actually refers only to the Small Engrailed, with the Engrailed proper being separable...

 or dancetty. Canadian animals and birds, both real and fantastical, have also been widely used in arms, including the mythical raven-bears in the arms of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

Status of women


In both the English and the Scottish systems of heraldry, from which the Canadian draws many of its practices, a woman does not inherit or transmit arms unless she is an heraldic heiress
Heraldic heiress
In English heraldry an heraldic heiress is a daughter of deceased man who was entitled to a coat of arms and who carries forward the right to those arms for the benefit of her future male descendants...

, that is, a daughter of an armiger who has no sons. In Canadian heraldry, by contrast, women may inherit arms on an equal basis with their brothers (if any). Women in Canada may also transmit their arms to their heirs, regardless of gender. This system of equality for men and women is a result of provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982...

, which guarantee, among other things, freedom from discrimination under the law on the basis of sex.

United Empire Loyalists


Those who are descended from the citizens loyal to the British Crown who fled the United States during and shortly after the revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 are known in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, and are entitled to the use of special coronet
Coronet
A coronet is a small crown consisting of ornaments fixed on a metal ring. Unlike a crown, a coronet never has arches.The word stems from the Old French coronete, a diminutive of coronne , itself from the Latin corona .Traditionally, such headgear is – as indicated by the German equivalent...

s within their arms, if arms are granted to them. There are two versions of the Loyalist coronet: the civil, which is made up of alternating oak and maple leaves, and the military, made up of maple leaves alternating with crossed swords; the latter is reserved for use by the families of those who served in the British military during the revolution. Proof of Loyalist heritage must be provided to the Canadian Heraldic Authority before permission is granted to use the coronet in arms. Unlike the common use of coronets in heraldry, the Loyalist coronet denotes no rank of nobility or royalty, but instead alludes to ancestral allegiance.

Obtaining arms


All citizens of Canada, as well as corporate bodies, may petition the Crown for an award of arms. For an individual to obtain a grant of arms, a petition must be sent to the Chief Herald
Chief Herald of Canada
Chief Herald of Canada is the title held by the head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The Chief Herald of Canada directs the operations of the Canadian Heraldic Authority and makes the grants of arms. There are exceptions to this, such as certain grants made directly by the Governor General. The...

, providing a biography, references, and completed application forms. If the grant is approved, the individual then consults with heralds from the Authority to work out the design of their award. Upon completion of this process, the grant documents, in the form of letters patent, are created and provided to the grantee. The entire process is subject to certain fees required by the Government of Canada
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

 to cover costs of research and artwork; the fees are not to purchase the grant of arms. For corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s and institutions the process is similar.

Those individuals and institutions who are already armigerous through recognised heraldic authorities worldwide may apply to the Canadian Heraldic Authority to have their arms registered. There is no cost associated with application for registration, and it takes less time, approximately three months, than application for a new award of arms, which takes approximately twelve to fourteen months.

External links