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Canada - Coat of Arms

Last modified: 2002-12-20 by phil nelson
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Coat of Arms of Canada

[Coat of Arms of Canada]
by Kevin Wharton


The COAT OF ARMS is that created in 1921, with a detailed description. It says that in 1994 the _achievement_ was slightly revised to add the ribbon of the order of Canada BEHIND the ARMS.
Will Linden - 5 February 1998


Yes, but the Consolidated Regulations of Canada TITLE 4 SECTION 1 clearly states that circles of orders are used behind the royal arms only when martial law is in effect. Also notice that the flag poles held by the supporters have SPEAR POINTS--in fact they are not really flag poles but LANCES. SPEAR POINTS are used with flags only during courts-martial!

The Canadian people have been duped.
Dean Tiegs - 6 February 1998


Canada's royal arms are still the same as those proclaimed in 1921. The only thing that changed in 1957 was that the official drawing of the arms was redone, using a more contemporary style and changing a few details to conform better to the 1921 proclamation. Also, the 1957 drawing has been superceded by a new one done in 1995, which changes the artistic style a bit and adds an augmentation of a circle with the motto of the Order of Canada. Redrawing a coat of arms does not change the arms, as long as the verbal blazon remains the same. The 1921 royal proclamation is still the authority for the royal arms.
Dean Tiegs - 15 August 1998


I suppose this is true from a certain point of view, but I think it's misleading. It would be better to say that the royal arms are those of the 1921 proclamation as augmented in 1995.
Roy Stilling - 15 August 1998


According to the Canadian government:

The shapes of symbols in a coat of arms can be altered by an artist since heraldry is an art as well as a science. However the symbols themselves can never be changed without formal approval. In 1957, when Canada's arms were slightly modified to produce a cleaner more contemporary design, the Government replaced the original Tudor crown of the 1921 design by a crown that would represent not just one of the royal families of English monarchs, but centuries of kings and queens of England. To comply with the wish of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Saint Edward's crown is now used for the Arms of Canada. It is that Crown that has been used for the coronation of kings and queens in Westminster Abbey for centuries.

On the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, Her Majesty The Queen has approved, on July 12, 1994 that the Arms of Canada beaugmented of a ribbon with the motto of the Order of Canada: "Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam" (They desire a better country).

Therefore, the 1921 COA was augmented in both 1957 and 1994.
Phil Nelson - 15 August 1998


The blazon calls for "maple leaves proper" and "a harp." The artist is allowed considerable licence in interpreting these phrases. Although there is an "official" interpretation, which has changed over the years, it is not heraldically wrong to draw these objects in an unofficial way.

The crowns are a little more complicated. The blazon calls for the crest lion to be "imperially crowned" and for the ensigning crown to be "St. Edward's crown." None of the crowns in the 1921 (pointed arches), 1957 and 1995 emblazonments (depressed arches) particularly resemble photographs of the Imperial State Crown or Saint Edward's Crown, so here artistic licence is stretched to its limit.
Dean Tiegs - 15 August 1998


One detail that seems to have been missed in the discussion of the redrawing of Canada's Coat of Arms is the item at the end of the chain winding around the unicorn. In earlier versions the chain is terminated with a ring, whereas upon revision it was replaced with a fetterlock, which is a "U" shaped lock with a straight bar closure.
Alan Gryfe - 22 October 1999


Coat of Arms of Provinces

[Coat of Arms of Provinces]