Arms of Canada's Provinces and Territories

Canada's culture and traditions are well respresented in the armorial bearings of the Provinces and Territories. From the historic arms of Nova Scotia granted by Royal Warrant in 1625, to the newest grant of arms to Nunavut in 1999, and including the most recent augmentation to the arms of Prince Edward Island in 2002, civic heraldry in Canada continues to offer a rich visual interpretation of regional identity.

Ontario Manitoba Alberta
Quebec British Columbia Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island Yukon
New Brunswick Saskatchewan Northwest Territories
        Nunavut
           

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ONTARIO: On May 26, 1868, the year following Confederation, Ontario was granted arms within the new Dominion of Canada. The supporters, crest, and motto, designed by Toronto barrister Edward Marion Chadwick, were added on Feb 27, 1909 by Royal Warrant from King Edward VII. The shield of arms consists of three gold maple leaves on a green background, above which is a wide white band with a red St. George's cross. The crest is a black bear standing on a gold and green wreath. The supporters are a moose and a deer at the sides of the shield. Below the shield is a scroll with the Latin motto. The maple leaves on the shield are of course the symbol of Canada. The cross of St. George recalls the historic connection with Britain in Upper Canada and pays tribute to the namesake of the monarch, George III, while the black bear, moose, and deer are indigenous to Ontario.

Heraldic Description
Shield:
Vert a sprig of three leaves of maple slipped Or, on a chief Argent a Cross Gules
Crest: Upon a wreath of the colours a bear passant Sable
Supporters: On the dexter side a moose, and on the sinister side, a Canadian deer, both proper
Motto: UT INCEPIT FIDELIS SIC PERMANET - As Loyal it began, so it remains

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QUEBEC: As a founding province in Confederation, Quebec was granted arms on May 26, 1868 by Royal Warrant. Design changes were made in 1939 by the Quebec government to achieve the current armorial bearings, which include the royal crown and a motto. The shield of arms is divided into three horizontal fields: the first bearing three fleurs-de-lis on a blue background; the second a gold lion on a red background; and the third, three green maple leaves on a gold background. The shield is surmounted by the royal crown and accompanied underneath by a silver scroll bearing the motto in blue letters. The fleurs-de-lis symbolize the orgins of Quebec as New France. The gold lion originates from the royal arms, and the maple leaves symbolize the new land of Canada in which are joined the traditions of royalist France and Britain. The motto was authored by E. Tache, who used it in the architectural design of the Quebec Legislative Buildings.

Heraldic Description
Shield: Tierced in fess: Azure three fleurs-de-lis Or; Gules a lion passant guardant Or armed and langued Azure; Or a sugar maple sprig with three leaves Vert
Crest: A Royal Crown proper
Motto: JE ME SOUVIENS - I remember

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NOVA SCOTIA: The ancient arms of Nova Scotia were granted to the Royal Province of Nova Scotia (New Scotland) in 1625 by King Charles I in support of the first British colonial effort on the Canadian mainland. The shield displays a blue saltire (St Andrew's cross) -- the emblem of Scotland -- upon a white or silver background (this is the reverse of its use in Scotland). On the cross is a small shield bearing the Royal Arms of Scotland. The royal helm (in gold, with the bars facing the viewer) indicates sovereignty over the new colony. Above it is the crest: two joined hands, one armoured and the other bare, supporting a spray of laurel for peace and a thistle for Scotland. On the left of the shield is the royal unicorn of Scotland and on the right a 17th-century representation of a North American Indian. Entwined with the thistle of Scotland at the base is the mayflower, floral emblem of Nova Scotia which was added on January 19th, 1929 by Royal Warrant. The motto is placed on a scroll above the achievement of arms, as is done for many Scottish grants.

Heraldic Description
Shield: Argent, a cross of St. Andrew Azure, charged with an inescutcheon of the Royal Arms of Scotland
Crest: On a wreath of the colours, a branch of laurel and a thistle issuing from two hands conjoined, the one armed and the other naked proper
Supporters: On the dexter side, an unicorn Argent, armed crined and unguled Or, crowned with the Imperial Crown proper and gorged with a coronet composed of crosses patee and fleurs-de-lis, a chain affixed thereto passing through the forelegs and reflexed over the back Or. And on the sinister side, a savage holding in the exterior hand an arrow proper
Motto: MUNIT HAEC ET ALTERA VINCIT - One defends, the other conquers

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NEW BRUNSWICK: Arms were granted to New Brunswick by Royal Warrant on May 26th, 1868 as one of the founding provinces in the Dominion of Canada. These arms were based upon the first Great Seal of the province. The principal charge of the shield is an ancient galley, symbolizing the maritime province's links to the sea. Above is a gold lion on a red background, symbolizing England, as well as the family connection of the royal House of Hanover with the Duchy of Brunswick in Germany, after which the colony was named. The motto, 'Hope was restored', -- added in 1966 -- refers to the province's having acted as a haven for Loyalist refugees who fled there during and after the American Revolution. On September 25, 1984, to mark the province's bicentennial, the arms were augmented by Queen Elizabeth II with a crest, supporters and compartment. The crest, an Atlantic salmon leaping, arises from a coronet of maple leaves and bears a representation of the Royal Crown upon its back. The supporters are white-tailed deer wearing wampum collars, hanging from which are small shields, that on the left showing the "Union Jack" of Great Britain and that on the right the three fleurs-de-lis of Royal France. These commemorate the colonization of New Brunswick by the two countries.The compartment below the shield is adorned with purple violets -- the provincial flower -- and fiddlehead ferns.

Heraldic Description
Shield: Or, on waves of water, a lymphad or ancient galley with oars in action proper, on a chief gules, a lion passant guardant Or
Crest: Upon a helm with wreath Or and Gules mantled Gules doubled Or, within a coronet comprising 4 maple leaves (3 manifest) set upon a rim of water barry wavy Azure and Argent an Atlantic salmon leaping, upholding on its back a Royal Crown, both proper
Supporters: On either side a white tailed deer, each gorged with a collar of Maliseet wampum proper and pendant therefrom an escutcheon, that to the dexter bearing the Union badge and that to the sinister the arms Azure three fleurs-de-lis Or, otherwise France modern
Compartment: Comprising a grassy mount with the floral emblem of the said Province of New Brunswick, the purple violet and young ostrich fern (commonly called fiddlehead) growing all proper
Motto: SPEM REDUXIT - Hope was restored

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MANITOBA: The arms of the Province of Manitoba were assigned by Royal Warrant of King Edward VII on May 10, 1905. The principal charge on the shield is a bison and above it the Cross of Saint George, a symbol of England. On October 23, 1992, Manitoba received an augmentation of arms from the Canadian Heraldic Authority during a special ceremony in the Legislative Assembly in Winnipeg. The grant celebrated Manitoba's heritage and 125 years of Confederation. Above the shield were added a gold helmet symbolizing Manitoba's co-sovereign status in Confederation, and upon it the crest: a beaver holding a prairie crocus (the Province's floral emblem), and upon its back the Royal Crown. The newly granted supporters were: on the left, a white unicorn -- derived from the Royal Arms -- which, being symbolic of Scotland, represents the early Scottish settlers of Manitoba. Around its neck is a collar from which hangs the wheel of one of the famous Red River carts. On the right of the shield is a white horse, an animal vital to the culture of the prairie-dwelling First Peoples, the Metis and the European settlers. Around its neck is a bead and bone collar, hanging from which is a First Nations symbol for the nature and meaning of our existence, the sacred cycle of life. The supporters and the shield rest on a base which depicts the grain fields and forests of Manitoba above the blue and white waters of its lakes and rivers. The scroll below bears the Latin version of the provincial motto, "Glorious and Free."

Heraldic Description
Shield: Vert on a Rock a Buffalo statant proper, on a Chief Argent the cross of St. George
Crest: Upon a helm in trian aspect Or mantled Gules doubled Argent and wreathed of these colours a beaver sejeant upholding with its back a representation of the Royal Crown proper, its dexter forepaw raised holding a prairie crocus (Anemone patens) slipped also proper
Supporters: Dexter a unicorn Argent armed crined and unguled Or gorged with a mural coronet Vert masoned and encircled with maple leaves Argent, pendant therefrom the wheel of a Red River cart Vert. Sinister a horse Argent crined queued and unguled Or gorged with a collar of Prairie Indian beadwork proper, pendant therefrom a Cycle of Life medallion Vert
Compartment: A mound bearing seven prairie crocuses slipped proper between to the dexter a wheat field Or and to the sinister a forest of white spruce (Picea glauca) proper the whole rising above barry wavy Argent and Azure
Motto: GLORIOSUS ET LIBER - Glorious and Free

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BRITISH COLUMBIA: The Arms and Motto of British Columbia were granted by King Edward VII, March 31,1906. The augmentation of crest, supporters and compartment were issued by Royal Warrant of Queen Elizabeth II, on October 15th 1987, although the Province had assumed the same supporters and a similar crest for many years previously. The shield features a representation of the sun setting into the ocean, symbolizing the province's location on the Pacific, and above it a Union Jack with an antique crown at its centre, suggestive of the Province's name and its strong connection with Britain. On top of the helmet is the Queen's royal crest, a gold lion standing on all fours, facing the viewer and wearing the royal crown. With Her Majesty's agreement, the Royal Crest was granted for the first time in history to another sovereign entity -- albeit with a mark of difference. The B.C. lion has an appropriate differencing mark, wearing about his neck a garland of dogwood, the provincial flower. The supporters are a wapiti stag and a bighorn sheep. The wapiti of Vancouver Island and the bighorn sheep of the Mainland symbolize the two separate colonies which united to form British Columbia in 1866. To learn more about the armorial achievement of British Columbia visit the website of the Government of British Columbia's Protocol and Events Branch.

Heraldic Description
Shield:
Argent, 3 bars wavy azure, issuant from the base a demi-sun in splendour proper, on a chief, the Union Device charged in the centre point with an antique crown Or
Crest: Upon a helm with a wreath argent and gules the royal crest of general purpose of our royal predecessor Queen Victoria differenced with the lion thereof garlanded about the neck with the provincial flower that is to say the pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttalli) with leaves all proper mantled gules doubled argent
Supporters: On the dexter side, a wapiti stag (Cervus canadensis) proper and on the sinister side a bighorn sheep ram (Ovis canadensis) argent armed and unguled Or
Compartment: Beneath the shield a scroll entwined with pacific dogwood flowers slipped and leaved proper
Motto: SPLENDOR SINE OCCASU - Brilliance without setting


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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: The arms of Prince Edward Island were assigned by Royal Warrant on May 30th, 1905. The shield shows a large oak tree on the right and three young saplings on the left. The mature tree represents England, while the three saplings stand for the three counties of Prince Edward Island. The upper section displays a gold lion on a red background, derived from the arms of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, after whom the province was named in 1799, and also from the arms of King Edward VII. All rise from the same foundation, symbolic of England and the province as islands. On December 13, 2002, Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson, the Governor General of Canada, presented a full achievement of arms to the Province, an augmentation to the original 1905 arms being granted by Vice-regal Warrant from the Canadian Heraldic Authority (read the Governor General's presentation speech). Above a golden helmet, a symbol of co-sovereign status in Confederation, is a blue jay -- the avian emblem of Prince Edward Island -- wearing a replica of the Royal Crown of St. Edward, and in its beak a leaf from the red oak, the silvan emblem of the province. On each side of the shield stands a silver fox. The foxes represent the ranched-fur industry and further symbolize inspiration, ingenuity and perseverance. Agriculture and fisheries are also represented, since one fox wears a garland of potato blossoms around its neck and the other, a length of fishing net. Below the shield is an eight-pointed star of porcupine quill, a symbol used by Mi'kmaq people for centuries to represent the sun. Around the star are other natural symbols of the early settlers; the rose for England, the thistle for Scotland, the shamrock for Ireland, the lily for France. The scroll reads PARVA SUB INGENTI which was derived from the Great Seal of the Province and is traditionally translated as 'The small under the protection of the great'. To learn more about the armorial achievement of Prince Edward Island visit the Government of Prince Edward Island's website.

Heraldic Description:

Shield: Argent, on an island Vert, to the sinister an oak tree fructed, to the dexter thereof three oak saplings sprouting all proper, on a chief Gules, a lion passant guardant Or
Crest:
On a grassy mount a blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) reguardant crowned with the Royal Crown and bearing in its beak a leaf of the red oak tree (Quercus rubra L.) fructed proper
Supporters: Two foxes (Vulpes fulva) Sable embellished Argent, that to the dexter gorged with a collar of potato blossoms proper, that to the sinister gorged with a length of fishnet Argent
Compartment: A mount Vert set with a Mi'kmaq star Azure between lady's slipper flowers (Cypripedium acaule), red roses, thistles, shamrocks and white lilies proper


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SASKATCHEWAN: The arms of Saskatchewan were assigned by Royal Warrant on August 25th, 1906, one year after the Province was formed from the Districts previously known as Athabaska, Assiniboia, and Saskatchewan. The shield displays three gold wheat sheaves representing the importance of agriculture as the principal occupation and source of weath in the area. Above the wheat sheaves is a red lion, derived from the arms of the sovereign and those of the heir apparent, the Prince of Wales. The Prince of Wales is also the Earl of Chester and the arms of that earldom consist of three sheaves of wheat. By Royal Warrant in 1986, the Province was granted an augmentation to the arms consisting of a crest, supporters, and motto. Atop the Shield is the Royal Helm, red and white mantling and wreath. On the wreath is a beaver, a national symbol of Canada, holding in its right paw the official flower of Saskatchewan, the Western Red Lily. Above the beaver is the Royal Crown, representing Saskatchewan's co-sovereignty in Confederation. To the left of the shield is a gold Royal Lion and to the right a white-tailed deer, Saskatchewan's official animal. Both animals wear collars of Prairie Indian beadwork. Suspended from the lion's collar is a six-sided star bearing a red maple leaf, a national symbol of Canada. From the deer's collar hangs a similar star bearing a Western Red Lily, the official floral symbol of Saskatchewan. The Motto, MULTIS E GENTIBUS VIRES, means 'From Many Peoples Strength',. representing Saskatchewan's multicultural heritage, including Native contributions and the vital role immigration played in Saskatchewan's early history. The Motto scroll is also entwined with Western Red Lilies.

Heraldic Description
Shield: Vert three Garbs in fesse Or, on a Chief of the last a Lion passant guardant Gules
Crest: Upon a Helm mantled Gules doubled Argent with a Wreath Argent and Gules a Beaver upholding with its back Our Royal Crown and holding in the dexter fore-claws a Western Red Lily (Lilium philadelphicum andinum) slipped all proper
Supporters: On the dexter side a Lion Or gorged with a Collar of Prairie Indian beadwork proper and dependent therefrom a six-pointed Mullet faceted Argent fimbriated and garnished Or charged with a Maple leaf Gules and on the sinister side a White tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) proper gorged with a like Collar and dependent therefrom a like Mullet charged with a Western Red Lily slipped and leaved proper
Motto: Beneath the Shield a Scroll entwined with Western Red Lilies slipped and leaved proper inscribed with MULTIS E GENTIBUS VIRES - From many peoples strength


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ALBERTA : On May 30th, 1907, arms were assigned by Royal Warrant to the Province of Alberta. Two years earlier, the Province had been formed from an area previously under the viceregal power of the Hudson's Bay Company. The shield displays the Cross of St. George in the chief to commemorate this association, the red cross on a white background being the principal charge in the arms of the Hudson's Bay Company. Below the cross is a pictorial representation of geographic features of the Province: a range of mountains, hills, and prairies all above a field of wheat. In celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Province of Alberta, an augmentation to the arms -- crest and supporters -- was issued by Royal Warrant from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on July 30th, 1980. Upon a helmet with a red and white wreath sits a beaver, supporting on his back a Royal Crown. The beaver is a national symbol of Canada and also recalls the role of the Hudson's Bay Company in the early exploration and governance of the region. The supporters, a gold lion and a pronghorn antelope, are standing on a grassy mount with wild roses, the official flower of the Province. For more information visit the Government of Alberta's website, Emblems.

Heraldic Description
Shield: Azure, in front of a range of snow mountains proper a range of hills Vert, in base a wheat field surmounted by a prairie both also proper, on a chief Argent a St. George's cross
Crest:Upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Gules a Beaver couchant upholding on its back the Royal Crown both proper
Supporters: On the dexter side a Lion Or armed and langued Gules and on the sinister side a Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana) proper
Compartment: Comprising a grassy mount with the Floral Emblem of the Said Province of Alberta the Wild Rose (Rosa acicularis) growing therefrom proper
Motto: FORTIS ET LIBER - Strong and free


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NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR: Armorial bearings were assigned to Newfoundland by letters patent under the seal of Sir John Borough, Garter Principal King of Arms, on January 1st 1638. The red shield is divided by a large white cross, bringing to mind the Arms of the Knights of St. John, a possible connection to the founding of Newfoundland by John Cabot on the day of that Order's patronal feast. The cross is also a reversal in colour of England's cross of St. George. In the four quadrants between the arms of the cross are alternating crowned gold lions and white unicorns, chosen from the supporters of the British Royal Arms borne since 1603. The letters patent call for an elk above the shield as the crest, but elk are not native to the island and it is generally accepted that the animal of the crest was meant to be a caribou. The figures on each side of the shield are stylized depictions of the indigenous people, the Beothuks, dressed and armed for war. The motto was taken from St. Matthew's Gospel, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.".

Heraldic Description
Shield: Gules a cross Argent, between in the 1st and 4th quarters a lion passant guardant crowned Or, and in the 2nd and 3rd quarters a unicorn passant also Argent, armed crined and unguled Or, gorged with a coronet a chain affixed thereto passing between his forelegs and reflexed over the back also Or
Crest: Upon a wreath Or and Gules, an elk passant proper; mantled Gules, doubled Argent
Supporters: On each side a savage of the clime armed and habited as for war
Motto: QUARITE PRIME REGNUM DEI - Seek ye first the kingdom of God


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YUKON: The arms of the Yukon Territory were granted by royal warrant from Queen Elizabeth II in 1956. The lower portion of the shield is blue, divided vertically by a pair of wavy white lines representing the Yukon River and the gold-bearing creeks of the Klondike. On either side are stylized mountains charged with gold discs representing the rich mineral resources of the Territory. The top portion of the shield bears a cross of St. George, a reference to Britain and to the early English explorers of the area. Placed at the centre of the cross is a symbol of the fur trade - a circular figure with a blue-and white pattern known as vair (vair being an heraldic term for fur). Above the shield and the gold-and-red wreath is a Malamute (Husky) dog standing on a mound of snow. From the earliest days of exploration, the strong and quick Malamute played an important role in opening up the Territory to settlement. Yukon's armorial bearings were commissioned by the federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and designed by Alan Beddoe, first President of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada.

Heraldic Description

Shield: Azure, on a pallet wavy Argent, a like pallet of the field, issuant from base two piles reversed Gules, fimbriated also Argent, each charged with two bezants in pale, on a chief Argent a cross Gules, surmounted of a roundel vair
Crest: On a wreath Or and Gules, a malamute standing on a mount of snow proper

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NORTHWEST TERRITORIES: Armorial bearings were assigned by royal warrant from Queen Elizabeth II to the Northwest Territories on February 7, 1957. The lower part of the shield is divided diagonally symbolizing the treeline. The lower green section represents the forested areas to the south of that line, while the upper red section suggests the tundra to the north. On the green background are gold "billets" (bars) and on the red background the head of a white fox, both charges depicting northern wealth by symbolizing mineral resources and the fur trade. The white upper portion of the shield has a lower serrated edge recalling an icefield and is crossed by a wavy blue band, both symbolic of the Northwest Passage. Surmounting the shield is a crest showing two gold narwhals upon a wreath of red and white, guarding a compass rose. The narwhals are a species found in the high arctic waters of the Northwest Territories, while the compass rose symbolizes the North Magnetic Pole, which is currently located within the Territory. To learn more about the symbols of the Northwest Territories visit The Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

Heraldic Description
Shield: Per bend wavy Gules and Vert billety Or, in sinister chief the mask of an arctic fox Argent, on a chief indented also Argent, a barrulet wavy Azure
Crest: On a wreath Argent and Gules, a compass rose proper between two narwhals haurient and addorsed Or


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NUNAVUT: On April 1st, 1999, Nunavut was presented with armorial bearings created under the direction of the Canadian Heraldic Authority and designed with input from individuals across the area, and Territory leaders in Rankin Inlet, Baker Laker, Cape Dorset, Iqaluit, and Pangnirtung. On a circular shield coloured gold and blue to symbolize the riches of the environment, is an inuksuk and a quillia. Inuksuks are stone monuments used by the Inuit people to denote sacred places and provide guidance to travellers. The quilliq or stone lamp is symbolic of the warmth of family and community. In the blue section of the shield is a concave arc of five gold circles representing the sun moving across the sky, and one single star Niqirtsuituq, the North Star, which is a traditional reference for navigation. Above the shield on a wreath of blue and silver is an igloo which stands for the traditional lifestyle and the means of survival. Atop the igloo is a Royal Crown signifying Nunavut's participation as a partner in Confederation. An animal native to the Territory supports the shield on either side, one taken from the land; a tuku (caribou), and one from the sea; qilalugaq tugaalik (narwhal). The base of the shield shows the geography of land and sea, and features three different species of Arctic wild flowers. The motto written in Inuktituk means - Nunavut, our strength. Visit the government of Nunavut's website for more information about emblems and symbols. An article, Creation of the Coat of Arms of Nunavut describes the collaborative process used in designing Nunavut's coat of a bgcolor="green"rms. The speech made at the presentation of the armorial bearings can be read online; Presentation of a Flag and Coat of Arms to Nunavut.

Heraldic Description
Shield:
Or dexter a qulliq Sable enflamed Gules sinister an inuksuk Azure on a chief also Azure above five bezants in arc reversed issuant from the lower chief a mullet (Niqirtsuituq) Or
Crest: On a wreath Argent and Azure an iglu affronty Argent windowed Or and ensigned by the Royal Crown proper
Supporters: On a compartment dexter of Land set with Arctic poppies, dwarf fireweed and Arctic heather proper sinister ice floes Argent set on barry wavy Azure and Argent dexter a caribou sinister a narwhal both proper
Motto: "Nunavut Our Strength"



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Royal Heraldry Society of Canada  RHSC
Released: January 14, 2004 / Updated: May 3, 2008