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In the 1840’s Robert Campbell, a Hudson’s Bay Company explorer, was the first European to travel the district. Fur traders, prospectors and whalers followed him. In 1870 the area became part of the region known as the Northwest Territories. But it was in 1896 that the biggest changes began. Gold was found in a tributary of the Klondike River near what became Dawson City. The ensuing gold rush attracted hopefuls from around the world. The population boomed to around 38,000 and transport routes were opened up.

In 1898 the Yukon became a separate territory with Dawson City the capital but the city declined as the gold ran out. In 1953 Whitehorse, situated at the Alaska Highway and the railway, became the capital.


Ensigns Armorial

As a non-official coat of arms for the Yukon Territory there appeared at the turn of the century:

Arms: Azure, three piles reversed Gules, edged Or each pile charged with three besants per pale, and a chief Or, a lion passant guardant Gules.



This coat of arms disappeared when a new achievement was granted tot the Dominion of Canada.


The two non-provincial areas in the country, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, had ensigns of public authority assigned to them by the Warrant of Her present Majesty on 19th October, 1956. Those for the Yukon are blazoned:


Arms: Azure, on a pallet wavy Argent a like pallet of the field, issuant from the base two piles reversed Gules edged also Argent each charged with two besants in pale, and on a chief Argent a Cross Gules surmounted by a roundle Vair.

Crest: On a wreath Or and Gules a Husky Dog standing on a mount of snow Proper.


The pallet wavy represents the Yukon and other rivers of the area in which the discovery of placer gold led to the Klondike Gold Rush. The mountainous nature of the Territory as well as its mineral resources are alluded to by the two symbolic mountains and gold discs on either side of the central charge. The St. George’s Cross in chief refers to the early exploration and development carried out, in the main, by Englishman. The fur trade is also referred to by the roundel of heraldic fur at the centre of the cross. The Malamute dog, of the crest, has played an important part in the early history of the Yukon, and is noted for its courage, loyalty and stamina. [1]


Embellished arms on flag


The arms surrounded by a garland of fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium – Onagraceae).


Warrant of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

for the achievement of Yukon Province.


App’d E.R.


The Secretary of State of Canada presents his humble duty to Her Majesty the Queen.

He has the honour to submit that it is expedient that there should be granted and assigned to the Yukon Territory, Canada, the following Armorial Bearings, that is to say:


Arms: Azure, on a pallet wavy Argent, a like Pallet of the field issuant from base two Piles

          reversed Gules edged 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 Husky Dog standing on a Mount of Snow proper.


   The Secretary of State of Canada, therefor, humbly Petitions Her Majesty to give authority accordingly by endorsing Her Royal approval of the present submission with Her Royal Hand.

    The Secretary of State of Canada remains Her Majesty’s most faithful and obedient servant.

Secretary of State of Canada.


Ottawa, February 17, 1956. [2]



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© Hubert de Vries  2015-12-11



[1] Swan, Conrad: The Canadian Arms of Dominion and Sovereignty. In: Recueil du Ve Congrès International des Sciences Généalogique et Héraldique à Stockholm.  Stockholm, 1960 pp. 268-269

[2] Dept. of the Secretary of State of Canada. Registration Division, Ottawa, March 12, 1956. Recorded Film 38 Document 21


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