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The arms of Canada
The royal grant
During the first decades after Confederation, questions relating to the arms of Canada had not received the attention they deserved. The Royal arms of the United Kingdom were then freely used to identify the offices of the Government of Canada.
Shortly after Confederation, a Great Seal was required and a design was approved by a royal warrant dated May 26, 1868. This design displayed, quarterly, the arms of the original four provinces of the new federation: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It was never used as the Great Seal, but was gradually adopted as the arms of Canada.
Another Great Seal was adopted for Canada representing Queen Victoria and the throne of her coronation; this Great Seal is however altered at the beginning of each reign, so as to show the effigy of the new Sovereign.
When other provinces joined Confederation, the attempt to add the arms of the new provinces to this federal composite design resulted in a crowded and confused appearance. For this reason, the Canadian Government submitted a request to the Sovereign for a grant of arms. This request was approved and the arms assigned to Canada were appointed and declared in the proclamation (text on next page) of His Majesty King George V dated November 21, 1921. This action was proceeded with on the basis of an Order of the Governor General in Council (P.C. 1921-1496) dated April 30, 1921.
Proclamation of 1921
"By the King - A Proclamation
The proclamationThe royal proclamation makes special reference to the request by the Government of Canada and states that the grant of arms or flags is made on the advice of the Privy Council and by the powers conferred by the first Article of the British statute "The Union of Ireland Act, 1800". Passed in the reign of King George III, it empowered the Crown to grant, by proclamation, arms and flags to the United Kingdom and its dependencies.
A special committee was mandated by the Governor General in 1919 to study the question on the arms of Canada. It was composed of:
The present design of the arms of Canada was drawn by Mrs. Cathy Bursey-Sabourin, Fraser Herald at the Canadian Heraldic Authority, office of the Governor General of Canada, and faithfully depicts the arms described in the words of the Royal Proclamation dated November 21, 1921. The present design was approved in 1994 and shows a ribbon behind the shield with the motto of the Order of Canada, DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (They desire a better country) – (the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 11 verse 16). This version replaces a former design drawn by Mr. Alan Beddoe.
|Date modified: 2008-06-23