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Great Seal of Canada

Great Seal of Canada

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The Great Seal of Canada (French
Canadian French
Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

: Grand Sceau du Canada
) is a seal
Seal (device)
A seal can be a figure impressed in wax, clay, or some other medium, or embossed on paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document ; but the term can also mean the device for making such impressions, being essentially a mould with the mirror image of the design carved in sunken- relief or...

 used for official purposes of state in 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...

 such as the certification of Acts of Parliament that have been granted Royal Assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...


The first Great Seal of Canada was carved 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...

 in 1869 and sent to Canada to replace a temporary seal which had been used since 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...

 in 1867; it depicted 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....

 seated beneath a canopy.

Old seals are destroyed whenever a new monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 takes the throne. The current Great Seal was made at the Royal Canadian Mint
Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint produces all of Canada's circulation coins, and manufactures circulation coins on behalf of other nations. The Mint also designs and manufactures: precious and base metal collector coins; gold, silver, palladium, and platinum bullion coins; medals, as well as medallions and...

 when Queen Elizabeth II succeeded her father in 1952 and it went into use in 1955. The seal is made of specially tempered steel, weighs 3.75 kilogram
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

s, and is 127 millimetres in diameter. The image depicts the Queen enthroned and robed, holding the orb
Sovereign's Orb
The Sovereign's Orb is a type of regalia known as a globus cruciger and is one of the British Crown Jewels.- History :It was created for the coronation of King Charles II in 1661 along with the Sceptre with the Cross and Ampulla....

 and sceptre
Sceptre with the Cross
The Sceptre with the Cross, also known as the St Edward's Sceptre, the Sovereign's Sceptre or the Royal Sceptre, is a sceptre of the British Crown Jewels. It was originally made for the coronation of King Charles II in 1661. In 1905, it was redesigned after the discovery of the Cullinan Diamond...

, and shows her sitting on the coronation chair with the 1957 version of the Royal Arms of Canada in front, and is inscribed REINE DU CANADA ELIZABETH II QUEEN OF CANADA. The inscriptions on it are in French and English. Previous Great Seals of Canada were inscribed in Latin.

While the governor general
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 is the keeper of the Great Seal, the Queen's representative places it in the protection of the Registrar General of Canada
Registrar General of Canada
The Registrar General of Canada is responsible for registering all letters patent, commissions, instruments, proclamations, and any other documents that may, from time to time, be issued under the Great Seal of Canada or the Privy Seal of Canada...

. Each of the provinces
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...

 has its own unique great seal for similar purposes, which is used by the lieutenant governor of the province, and kept by the provincial attorney general.


The Great Seal is protected under the Security of Information Act, Section 5(2)(e) stating: "Every person who, without lawful authority or excuse, manufactures or sells, or has in his possession for sale, any die, seal or scribble referred to in subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years or by summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 12 months or to a fine of not more than $2,000."

See also

  • Monarchy of Canada
  • Monarchy in the Canadian provinces
    Monarchy in the Canadian provinces
    The monarchy of Canada forms the core of each Canadian provincial jurisdiction's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy, being the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government in each province...

  • Great Seal (disambiguation)

External links