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Nouvelle France

The Companies

Upper & Lower Canada

Dominion of Canada

Viceroys and Governors of Nouvelle France and Canada



Security Intelligence Service


Armed Forces



British Columbia


New Brunswick


Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia



Prince Edward Island









Present Canada was claimed by Jacques Cartier for the french crown in 1534 but was not colonized in the beginning. By Treaty of Crépy en Laonnois of September 1544 Francis I gave the first establishments to Charles V of Spain. In 1604 thesewere taken back. After the foundation of Quebec the colony was elevated to a Viceroyalty. In this viceroyalty the Company of New France or the Company of the Hundred Associates received the trade monopoly but the Company was not a success. At the insistence of the population New France received its own government in 1663. From 1664 the French West India Company was active but the company was discontinued in 1674.

The territory was divided into colonies, each with its own administration: Canada, Acadia, Newfound-land (Plaisance), and Louisiana. The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) resulted in the relinquishing of French claims to mainland Acadia, the Hudson Bay and Newfoundland, and the establishment of the colony of Île Royale, now called Cape Breton Island, where the French built the Fortress of Louisbourg.

After 1674 the new French West India Company received the trade monopoly in all New France but after the victory of Wolfe at the Battle of Quebec in 1759 Quebec came to England at the Peace of Paris in 1763. At the same time the French territories west of the Mississippi came to Spain, thus ending the activities of the French West India Company.

Under English rule New France became Quebec Province which was divided into Lower and Upper Canada in 1790 and united again in 1840. In 1867 the British North America Act was passed by the British Government. This established the Dominion of Canada and included Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In the following half a century ever more territories were added to this dominion ending in the present thirteen provinces and territories with the creation of Nunavut in 1999.


Nouvelle France


French Rule  1534-1544

House of Valois

Francis I



It was the custom to plant a monument to lay claim on territories discovered. This was done for example by the Portuese by erecting the so-called padrãos, stone colums engraved with the royal arms. The french did similarly, the monument consisting of a cross or column with the royal arms of France.


Photo H.d.V. 09.2000.

Wooden cross with the arms of France

Monument in Tadoussac (QU, Canada).


On the tablet: is written à jacques cartier, découvreur du royaume de saguenay. 1535 • 1935. toujours fidèle.

Column erected by Jean Ribaud, 1562

in Florida near present St Augustine


On the column are the royal arms of France


Jacques Cartier planted at least five crosses during his voyages in 1534 and 1535-36, the best known instances being on the Gaspé coast on 24 July 1534 and at Stadacona (Quebec) on 3 May 1536. Both ceremonies mention a cross bearing a shield of the royal arms of France which was blue with three gold fleurs-de-lis. The Gaspé ceremony is described as follows:

“On [Friday] the twenty-fourth of the said month [of July], we had a cross made thirty feet high, which was put together in the presence of a number of the Indians on the point at the entrance to this harbour, under the cross-bar of which we fixed a shield with three fleurs-de-lys in relief, and above it a wooden board, engraved in large Gothic characters, where was written, LONG LIVE THE KING OF FRANCE.”

After wintering at Stadacona (Quebec) in 1536, Cartier planted a similar cross:

“On [Wednesday¨] May 3, which was the festival of the Holy Cross, the Captain in celebration of this solemn feast, had a beautiful cross erected some thirty-five feet high, under the cross-bar of which was attached an escutcheon, embossed with the arms of France, whereon was printed in Roman characters: LONG LIVE FRANCIS I. BY GOD’S GRACE KING OF FRANCE.”

In a less formal fashion, Cartier planted a number of other crosses which as it seems were intended as beacons or landmarks.


Spanish Rule by Treaty of Crépy en Laonnois 1544


No landmarks claiming territories in North America by the Spaniards have been preserved whatsoever. The French in the meantime continued exploring the region and claiming land for the King of France.


House of Habsburg

Charles V



Philip II




In 1583 Étienne Bellenger took possession of the area around the Bay of Fundy (between New Brunswick and Newfoundland) by attaching the arms of Cardinal Charles de Bourbon to a tall tree, which possibly were discovered by Champlain in 1607.


Arms of  Cardinal Charles de Bourbon (*1562-†’94)


Source: Recueil de tous les chevaliers de l'ordre du Saint Esprit, par le sr de VALLES, 1631, ms.fr. 2769, Bibliothèque Nationale de France (gallica.bnf.fr)


Philip III




An attempt at French colonization in North America was carried out on Sainte-Croix Island in 1604 by Pierre Du Gua de Monts who had been granted trade and settlement privilege by the king. The island not being large enough to sustain a permanent settlement, François Gravé, Sieur du Pont, the deputy of de Monts, and Samuel de Champlain moved the settlement to Port-Royal in 1605. This new settlement was the scene of an important heraldic event. On the 14 November 1606, Champlain and Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt, lieutenant-governor of Acadia, returned from a voyage of exploration which had brought them down to Cape Cod. To celebrate their return, a play called Le Théâtre de Neptune (The Theatre of Neptune) was staged in Annapolis Basin in front of the habitation at Port Royal. Above the gate, were installed the royal arms of France enclosed with a wreath of laurel. With the arms was the motto Duo protegit unus (One protects two), which may refer to the king protecting both France and Navarre. Underneath were the arms of de Monts with the inscription: Dabit Deus his quoque finem (God shall also give an end to these toils) from the Aeneid, book I.1.199. On the opposite side, the arms of de Poutrincourt were accompanied by the inscription Invia virtuti nulla est via (To valour no path is impassible) from Ovid, 14 Meiam 113. The event is described by Marc Lescarbot in his ‘Histoire de la Nouvelle-France’ (Paris: Jean Millot, 1609.) [1]


Royal arms in Port Royal, Nova Scotia

Crowned arms of France and Navarra

Below the arms of Dua de Gua de Monts (left) and of Poutrincourt (right)


French Rule 1608 -1763

House of Bourbon

Henri IV



Henri IV bore an alliance of France and Navarra, crowned and surrounded by the collars of the Order of St Michael and of the Holy Spirit but no specimen is known from Nouvelle France.


Arms of Henry IV

From: Marc Lescarbot, Histoire de la Nouvelle-France, Paris: Jean Millot, 1609.


In the summer of 1608, Samuel de Champlain, a capable explorer and geographer, at the time a lieutenant of Pierre du Gua de Monts, began a new settlement at Quebec. As Cartier had done before him, he planted a number of crosses on his route. Some of them bore the royal arms of France, for instance, one on an island of Lac des Chats (Quebec), which he named Sainte-Croix Island, and one made of white cedar on the shore of Lac aux Allumettes (Province of Quebec). Champlain admonished the Amerindians to take good care of the crosses, some serving to mark his exploration route, others being more formal witnesses of his claim to the territory.


Louis XIII



Arms of Louis XIII

On a map of Samuel de Champlain: Carte Géographique de la Nouvelle Franse ... 1612


On 3 June, 1620, Jean Dobleau, superior of the Recollets, placed the first stone of their church, Notre-Dame-des-Anges, on which were engraved the arms of France and those of Henri de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, who had just been replaced as Viceroy of New France. The practice of placing the arms of dignitaries on cornerstones of important buildings seemed habitual.

On 6 May 1624, Champlain placed a stone in the foundation of his second habitation on which were engraved the arms of the king, those of Henry II, Duc of Montmorency, Viceroy of New France, as well as his own name and the date of the event. The presence of Champlain’s name only seems a good indication that he did not possess arms, and no arms were ever uncovered for him.


Louis XIV



In 1663 Jean Baptiste Colbert, the main confidant of Louis XIV after the death of Mazarin in 1661, informed about the bad results of the Company of New France, determined to make New France a royal province. The office of Viceroy of Nouvelle France was abolished. Then followed a comprehensive decree establishing for the colony a direct royal government consisting of a Sovereign Council made up of a governor, an intendant, the head of the church in New France ex officio, and some appointed councillors. [2] This new body and these officers were to have full administrative and judicial powers, subject only to the authority of the royal government at home. 1

This administrative structure functioned until the fall of New France in 1760. The last gathering of the Supreme Council took place on 28 April 1760, the day of the Battle of Sainte-Foy.


The arms of France were on the reverse of coins widely circulated in New France, for instance: the écu which came in various denominations some of which continued to circulate after 1763, the douzain which was given a rating of 20 deniers when it appeared in the colony in 1662, the ½ and double sol shipped in large amounts to New France in 1720,  as well as gold and silver Louis and the 5-sol and 15-sol pieces coined specifically for the North American colonies.

Although it is not known to what extent some coins circulated in New France, and in spite of the fact, that there was a chronic shortage of metallic money, coins probably remained the most important vehicle whereby the public came into contact with the sovereign’s shield: écu in French, the name given to one of the coins. On the Kebeca Liberata  (Quebec delivered) medal struck to celebrate Count Frontenac’s victory over Admiral William Phips’ fleet before Quebec City in 1690, France is represented by a feminine allegorical figure, her left arm resting on a shield of the arms of France.


Kebeca Liberata Medal, 1690


Officers’ gorgets were sometimes decorated in the centre with the coat of arms of France applied as a silver plate. (See below, 1750)


The royal arms appeared on the seal of New France’s Conseil souverain, later named Conseil supérieur. (see below, 1742) The arms of French sovereigns were also found on a number of maps relating to North America to signify sovereignty over these territories.

Royal Arms of France

On a map of  “Canada ou Nouvelle France”  by Jean Baptiste Louis Franquelin, 1688


During the reign of Louis XIV some more landclaims were made by erecting monuments charged with the royal arms. We may not be sure however if these arms were the royal arms (as suggested here) with both collars or just the arms of France.


1663 – The missionary Guillaume Couture plants a cross bearing the arms of the king in lower James Bay (between Quebec and Ontario).


1666 – Daniel Rémy de Courcelle plants a large cross and a post bearing the royal arms of France to claim Mohawk lands for Louis XIV.


In a report dated 10 October 1670, Jean Talon, intendant of New France (1665-’72) stated that he had requested everyone who claimed new land to display the royal arms of France and to prepare a written record of the claim, which would eventually serve to inform the sovereign. Many land claiming ceremonies took place at the time of New France, but it is not always well recorded whether the arms of France were displayed or not. It is likely that the explorer, in many instances, did not have a durable material such as copper or lead on which to engrave the arms. The following are additional instances of land claiming ceremonies that involve the display of the royal arms of France. They are gleaned from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography on line unless otherwise specified.


In June 1671, Simon-François Daumont de Saint-Lusson gathered together fourteen First Nations tribes that had come from 100 leagues (some 400 kilometers) around the Jesuit mission at Sault-Ste-Marie. (Ontario,  Lake Erie) The interpreter, Nicolas Perrot, read a document in the native language claiming all the territories so far discovered and those to be discovered in the name of the King of France. A cross was raised, and beside it, a cedar post bearing the royal arms.


1672 – Father Albanel buries a copper plate engraved with the royal arms at the foot of a large tree at James Bay and proclaims that the surrounding territories belong to France. On their way back, his companion, Denys de Saint-Simon, as instructed by Intendant Talon, plants the royal arms at Lake Nemiskau.


1679 – Daniel Greysolon Dulhut winters at Sault Ste Marie and, in the summer, raises the arms of France in the land of the Nadouesioux. Similar ceremonies take place in strategic places of the Upper Great Lakes to serve notice on the English that these lands are now claimed by Louis XIV


1693 - Claude-Sébastien de Villieu receives orders to post the king’s arms along a line separating New-France from New England.




Louis XV



In this time an attempt was made to introduce an achievement for the Province of Canada.


Achievement of Nouvelle France

On a map ‘La France Occidentale dans l'Amérique Septentrionale:

ou le cours de la Rivière de St. Laurens’, 1718.  [3]


The achievement was:


Arms: Azure, strewn with fleurs-de-lis, a sun radiant in chief Or.

Crown: Of a governor of a Province of France being of five leaves Argent

Supporters: Indians with their headdress and armed with bows proper


The status of this achievement is unknown and it may never have been officially adopted. Probably it has someting to do with the regency of  Philippe d’Orléans for Louis XV (1715-‘23). In any case the achievement symbolizes a kind of indirect rule and replaces the achievement on the royal counterseal of France. However nothing is known of a regency council (as foreseen for France by Louis XIV in his will)  in Nouvelle France in that period.  

There are two examples of the achievement known, both together with the achievement of the Company of the West, chartered 1717.


Arms proposed for the Royal Province of Canada.

Date unknown. National Archives of Canada A 900. Photo NMC 18251.




After the coronation of Louis XV in 1722 and the ending of the regency in 1723 the display of the royal arms in the public space was propagated in Nouvelle France.

In a letter of 29 October 1725, the military engineer, Joseph-Gaspard Chaussegros de Léry, informed the French Minister of Colonies that the arms of His Majesty had not been displayed in the colony as was proper. To remedy the situation, he had a number of them prepared by a sculptor and duly installed above the principal gates, buildings, forts and public places, namely at Château St. Louis (residence of the governor), the Palace (residence of the intendant), the stores, the barracks, Fort Chambly, as well as the guard-houses, prisons, and courts in Trois-Rivières and Montreal, so that the king’s sovereignty would be affirmed in his North American possessions. The arms were also installed in churches and were later removed by the British.

Royal Arms of France, 1727

In the city hall of Quebec. By the sculptor Pierre-Noël Levasseur in 1727.

The original is preserved in the Quebec Museum.

Royal Arms of France, 1727

Trophy taken from porte Saint Louis at Quebec City in 1759. Attributed to Pierre-Noël Levasseur

Given to the Royal Naval College of Portsmouth by Vice-Admiral Charles Saunders. Returned to Canada in 1917. Now held by the Canadian War Museum.


Écu for circulation in Nouvelle France

Arms of France within garland


1732 - Joseph-Laurent Normandin marks the watershed separating the claims of England from those of France, north of Lake St. Jean, by means of fleurs-de-lis (arms of France?) placed on trees.



Seal of the Supreme Council of  Nouvelle-France.

 Crowned royal arms surrounded by the collars of the Order of St Micael and of the Holy Spirit.


Québec, 19.09.1742. Archives nationales du Canada. MG 18, H18, negative C – 103324.


Seal of the Supreme/Sovereign Council of Nouvelle France

on a document of 29 January 1742.
CA ANQ-Q TL5/6 Collection Pièces judiciaires et notariales dossier 1280


The royal arms are

Arms: Azure, three fleurs-de-lis Or

Crown: A royal crown with five fleurs-de-lis and five hoops

Orders: Of the Holy Spirit and of St. Michael



Officer's gorget with the arms of France

  around 1750, found in Quebec


British Occupation 1759-1763

Province of Quebec


British Rule by Treaty of Paris, 1763


In the time of British Rule the royal arms and the royal achievement of the Kings of Great Britain and Great Britain and Ireland were valid. The royal arms of France surrounded by the collars of the order of St. Michael and of the Holy Spirit were replaced by the crowned arms of Great Britain, often surrounded by the Order of the Garter but these arms were hardly displayed in Canada.  The royal achievement was on the reverse of the Great seals deputed. In 1921 the royal achievement of Great Britain and Ireland was replaced by the royal achievement for Canada.

The arms of France as used in Nouvelle France were replaced by the territorial arms of the parts of Canada and later by the arms of the dominion of Canada.


House of Hanover

George III     



Obverse of the Great Seal Deputed of Quebec, 1763

BL: Detached Seals XLV.4 an Royal Mint London © Crown


Seal: George III, crowned, in coronation robes and wearing the Collar of the Order of the Garter stands on the right hand side. With a sceptre in his right hand he indicates on the map the location of the province for which he had recently assumed responsibility. The map hangs over a stand, shows eastern North America from Newfoundland southwards to New York.

Legend: SIGILLUM Ÿ PROVINCIAE Ÿ NOSTRAE Ÿ QUEBECENSIS Ÿ IN Ÿ AMERICA (Seal of Our Province of Quebec in America). In base: EXTENSAE GAUDENT AGNOSCERE METAE (The extended boundaries rejoice to aknowledge [him].


This seal did duty until the Constitutional Act of 1790 brought into being Upper and Lower Canada which began their separate existences on 26 December 1791.


Lower and Upper Canada


George III


George IV


William IV





Great Seal Deputed of Lower Canada



Great Seal Deputed of Upper Canada







The Seal of Lower Canada

The seal of Lower Canada  was engraved by Thomas Major. and was complete don 30 April 1793. On it was an Oak Tree with some branmches cut off a Pruning knife on the ground, a river and ships at Anchor, at a distnace a Town and Church on a rising hill.

Motto: AB Ÿ IPSO Ÿ DUCIT Ÿ OPES Ÿ ANIMUMQUE Ÿ FERRO (It derives power and courage from the steel itself (Horace, Odes IV)

Legend: SIGILL { PROV { NOS { CAN { INF { (Seal of Our Province of Lower Canada)

On the reverse is the royal achievement. On the seals deputed of King George IV and Queen Victoria both seals were combined on a single sided seal. [4]

It seems likely that the roadstead of Montreal is depeicted with Notre Dame de Bonsecours (1773) on the shore


The Seal of Upper Canada

Upon the creation of Upper Canada a seal for the province was authorized by royal warrant dated 28 March 1792. The obverse was described as ‘the Calumet of Peace with the Anchor and Sword of State encircled by a Crown of Olives’. Above this is a representation of the royal crown. In the upper right hand was the Union Jack, on the seal of 1817 replaced by the new Union Jack of 1801 with the St. Patrick’s Cross. Below are two cornucopia in saltire

Motto: IMPERI  Ÿ PORRECTA Ÿ MAJESTAS Ÿ CVSTODE Ÿ RERVM Ÿ CAESARE (The greateness of the empire is extended under the guardianship of the Sovbereign)

Legend: SIGILL { PROV {  NOS { CAN { SUP (Seal of Our province of Upper Canada).

On the reverse is the royal achievement. On the seals deputed of King George IV and Queen Victoria both seals were combined on a single sided seal. [5]


Calumet much the same in all American Tribes


Union of Upper and Lower Canada





Great Seal of the Province of Canada, following the union of Upper and Lower Canada in 1840.


Two allegorical figures hold the former seals of Upper Canada (right) and of Lower Canada (left). The arms of Queen Victoria are at the top.




Dominion of Canada





Ontario 01.07.1867

Quebec 01.07.1867

Nova Scotia 01.07.1867

New Brunswick 01.07.1867


In 1867 the British North America Act was passed by the British Government. This established the Dominion of Canada and included Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. At the Act’s signing it had been decided that other parts of the country should be included in the Dominion whenever possible.


Shortly after Confederation, a Great Seal was required and a design was approved by a royal warrant dated May 26, 1868.


Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria for the Coats of Arms of the Provinces and the

Dominion of Canada and the Great Seal of the Dominion

dated 26th  of May 1868.



Victoria R

       Victoria by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen Defender of the Faith &c

To Our Right Trusty and well beloved Councillor Edward George Fitzalan Howard (commonly called Lord Edward George Fitzalan Howard) Deputy to Our Right Trusty and Right Entirely beloved Cousin Henry Duke of Norfolk Earl Marshal and Our Hereditary Marshal of England Greeting. Whereas by virtue of and under the Authority of an Act of Parliament passed in the twentyninth year of Our Reign entitled ‘An Act for the Union of Canada Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the Government thereof’ We were empowered to declare after a certain day therein appointed that the said Provinces of Canada Nova Scotia and New Brunswick should form one Dominion under the name of Canada And it was provided that on and after the day so appointed Canada should be divided into four Provinces named Ontario Quebec Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that the part of  the then Province of Canada which formerly constituted the Province of Upper Canada should constitute the Province of Ontario and the part which formerly constituted the Province of Lower Canada should constitute the province of Quebec and that the Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick should have the same limits as at the passing of the said Act. And whereas We did by Our Royal Proclamation bearing date the twenty second day of May last declare ordain and command that on and after the first day of July 1867 the said Provinces should form and be one Dominion under the name of Canada accordingly. And forasmuch as it is Our Royal Will and pleasure that for the greater honor and distinction of the said Provinces certain Armorial Ensigns should be assigned to them. Know Ye therefore that We of Our Princely Grace and Special favor have granted and assigned by these Presents do grant and assign the Armorial Ensigns following that is to say


For the Province of Ontario

Vert a Sprig of three leaves of Maple slipped Or on a Chief Argent the Cross of St. George.



For the Provcince of Quebec

Or on a Fess Gules between two Fleur de Lis in Chief Azure and a Sprig of three leaves of maple slipped Vert in base a Lion passand guardant Or.



For the Province of Nova Scotia

On a Fess wavy Azure between three Thistles proper a Salmon naiant Argent



For the Province of New Brunswick

Or on Waves a Lymphad or Ancient Galley with oars in Action proper on a Chief Gules a Lion passant guardant Or


as the same are severally depicted in the margin hereof to be borne for the said respective Provinces Seals Shields Banners Flags or other use according to the Laws of Arms.

And We are further pleased to declare that the said United Provinces of Canada being one Dominion under the name of Canada shall upon all occasions that may be required use a Common Seal to be called the Great Seal of Canada which said Seal shall be composed of the Arms of the said Four Provinces Quarterly All which Armorial Bearings are set forth in this Our Royal Warrant. Our Will and Pleasure therefore is that you Edward George Fitzalan Howard (commonly called Lord Edward George Fitzalan Howard) Deputy to Our said Earl Marshal to whom the cognizance of matters of this nature doth properly belong do require and command that this Our Concession and Declaration be recorded in Our College of Arms in order that Our Officers of Arms and all other Public Functionaries whom it may concern may take full notice and knowledge thereof in their several and respective departments. And for so doing this shall be your Warrant. Given at Our Court at St. James this twenty sixth day of May in the thirty first year of Our Reign


By Her Majestys Command

Buckingham  Chandos



I hereby certify the above written document and the Arms therewith depicted to be faithfully extracted from the Records of the College of Arms London, and compared therewith by me this Twenty First day of May 1910

S. Ambrose Lee

York Herald



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. For a reason unexplained by history, 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.


Ten dollar coin with the arms of 1868  within a garland of maple branches (1912-’14)


+ Manitoba 15.07.1870

+ Northwest Territories 1870

+ Yukon Territory 1898


When a new province joined its arms were added.

Coat of Arms of the Dominion of Canada after the creation of

the Province of Manitoba in 1870.


Arms: ½: 1. 1|2 Ontario & Quebec; 2. 1|3 New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba.

Crown: St. Edward’s Crown

Garland: Composed of branches of maple and oak, and of roses, thistles and shamrock, on the junction a beaver.


The blason of Manitoba in the fifth quarter shows the arms of the province as on its great seal adopted in 1870 and used until 1903. The arms were: Vert, a buffalo courant proper and a chief Argent, a cross Gules charged with a royal crown proper. At the adoption of a new seal in 1903 the buffalo was made statant and the crown was omitted. In conformity with these changes the coat of arms of Manitoba was officially adopted by Royal Warrant of 10th of May 1905. [7]

The arms of  Northwest Territories were never added as these were only adopted in 1956 and those for Yukon Territory only in 1904

+ British Columbia 20.07.1871

+ Prince Edward Island 01.07.1873


After 1873 quarters for British Columbia and Prince Edward Island were added. These seven-quartered arms were used until 1921.


Seal of the Deputy to the Governor General made between 1873 and 1906 [8]



The beavers as supporters and the motto ‘Canada First’ are merely an unsanctioned  freedom



Arms: 1/3: 1. 1|2 Ontario & Quebec; 2. 1|3 New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba; 3. 1|2 British Columbia*), Prince Edward Island.


*) The quarter for British Columbia Argent with the badge of British Columbia: The crown of St. Edwards between the letters B and C and within a garland of  branches of olive.


Edward VII



+ Saskatchewan 01.09.1905

+ Alberta 01.09.1905


At the end of the 19th century new arms for the provinces were designed by Reverend Arthur John Beanlands (1857-1917) and by Edward Marion Chadwick, a Toronto barrister, heraldist and genealogist (1840-1921). A coat of arms of nine quarters containing these arms appeared (inofficially) at the beginning of the 20th century.

The nine quarter arms of Canada on an unmarked plate

made in Austria or Germany, c. 1903-05.

A. & P. Vachon Collection, Canadian Museum of History.



1st row: Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia (all granted in 1868);

2nd row New Brunswick (granted 1868), British Columbia (created by A.J. Beanlands in 1895), Prince Edward Island (created by E.M. Chadwick ca. 1901);

3rd row Northwest Territories (created by E.M. Chadwick ca. 1901), Yukon (created by E.M. Chadwick ca. 1903), arms of Manitoba (from its provincial seal, 1870). [9]


Somewhat later the quarters on  the arms were rearranged


Coat of Arms of Canada after the accession of Saskatchewan and Alberta (1908)



1st row: Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory, Quebec,

2nd row: Prince Edwards Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan

3rd row: Nova Scotia, British Columbia, New Brunswick.


George V



The Achievement of the Dominion of Canada


A special committee was mandated by the Governor General in 1919 to study the question on the arms of Canada. It was composed of:


  • Thomas Mulvey, K.C., Under Secretary of State, Chairman.
  • Sir Joseph Pope, K.C.M.G., C.V.O., I.S.O.(Under Secretary of State for External Affairs);
  • A.G. Doughty, C.M.G. Litt. D., (Dominion Archivist);
  • Major-General W.G. Gwatkin, C.B., C.M.G., (Department of Militia and Defence).


By proclamation of 21 november 1921 new coat of arms was granted by  King George V. This consists of quarters for England, Scotland, Ireland and France and a base with three maple-leaves for Canada.



By the King - A Proclamation


Declaring His Majesty’s Pleasure concerning the Ensigns Armorial of the Dominion of Canada


George R.I.


WHEREAS We have received a request from the Governor General in Council of Our Dominion of Canada that the Arms or Ensigns Armorial herein after described should be assigned to Our said Dominion.


We do hereby, by and with the advice of Our Privy Council, and in exercise of the powers conferred by the first Article of the Union with Ireland Act, 1800, appoint and declare that the Arms or Ensigns Armorial of the Dominion of Canada shall be Tierced in fesse the first and second divisions containing the quarterly coat following, namely, 1st Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or, 2nd, Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory gules, 3rd, Azure a harp Or stringed argent, 4th, Azure, three fleurs-de-lis or, and the third division Argent three maple leaves conjoined on one stem proper. And upon a Royal helmet mantled argent doubled gules the Crest, that is to say, On a wreath of the colours argent and gules a lion passant guardant or imperially crowned proper and holding in the dexter paw a maple leaf gules. And for Supporters On the dexter a lion rampant or holding a lance argent, point or, flying therefrom to the dexter the Union Flag, and on the sinister A unicorn argent armed crined and uynguled or, gorged with a coronet composed of crosses partée and fleurs-de-lis or; the whole ensigned with the Imperial Crown proper and below the shield upon a wreath composed of roses, thistles, shamrocks and lilies a scroll azure inscribed with the motto A mari usque ad mare, and Our Will and Pleasure further is that the Arms or Ensigns Armorial aforesaid shall be used henceforth, as far as conveniently may be, on all occasions wherein the said Arms or Ensigns Armorial of the Dominion of Canada ought to be used.


Given at Our Court at Buckingham Palace, this twenty-first day of November, in the year of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and twenty-one, and in the twelfth year of Our Reign.





Achievement of the Dominion of Canada

as granted by Royal Warrant of  the 21st of November 1921.

House of Windsor


Edward VIII


George VI



+ Newfoundland & Labrador 31.03.1949

Elizabeth II



+ Nunavut 01.04.1999


Her Majesty’s full Style and title for Canada is as follows:


Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”


Flag flown at times when Queen Elizabeth is personally present in  Canada


Achievement of the Dominion of Canada, 1957


Originally green, in 1957 the leaves officially became red, and thus were in accord with Canada’s national colours, red and white.


The present design was approved in 1994 and shows a ribbon behind the shield with the motto of the Order of Canada. It 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. This version replaces a former design drawn by Mr. Alan Beddoe.


The ribbon is circular in form and tinctured Gules with the motto desiderantes meliorem patriam (They desire a better Country) in golden lettering. The Order of Canada was instituted  on 17.04.1967.


Æ See illustration in the head of this article


Parliament and Senate



Ottawa, Ontario

Confirmation of the right to bear the shield of the Royal Arms of Canada surmounting the Maces of the Senate and the House of Commons

April 15,2008

Vol. V, p. 276



Ottawa, Ontario

Confirmation of the right to bear the shield of the Royal Arms of Canada surmounting the Mace of the Senate

April 15, 2008

Vol. V, p. 275




Badge: The shield of the Arms of Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada surmounting the Mace of the Senate and the Mace of the House of Commons in saltire;



Badge: This emblem symbolizes that the Parliament of Canada consists of the Queen, the Senate, and the House of Commons, represented respectively by the shield of the Royal Arms of Canada and the mace of each legislative body.



Badge: The shield of the Arms of Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada surmounting the Mace of the Senate in pale;



Badge:The mace, created in 1849, is a symbol of authority in the Senate, and the shield of the Royal Arms of Canada represents the Sovereign of Canada, in whose name the Senate conducts its deliberations.


Canadian Security Intelligence Service


Initially security intelligence in Canada was the purview of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service. However, in the 1970s there were allegations that the RCMP Security Service had been involved in numerous illegal activities. As a result of these allegations, in 1977, Justice David Macdonald was appointed to investigate the activities of RCMP Security Service. The resulting investigation, known as the MacDonald Commission, published its final report in 1981, with its main recommendation being that security intelligence work should be separated from policing, and that a civilian intelligence agency be created to take over from the RCMP Security Service.

On June 21, 1984, the Canadian Security Inteligence Service (CSIS) was created by an Act of Parliament.



Ottawa, Ontario

Registration of a Badge

January 15, 2007

Vol. V, p. 102


Badge: On a square Argent a maple leaf Gules within a palisade Azure edged Or and insigned by the Royal Crown proper;



Badge: Blue and gold are the colours of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which was responsible for national security intelligence prior to July 16, 1984, when the Service began operations. The palisade symbolizes the defensive role of the agency against threats to national security. The Royal Crown represents the protection of the peace on behalf of the Sovereign.



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© Hubert de Vries 2015-12-17




[1] http://heraldicscienceheraldique.com/chapter-1-european-heritage.html  4. France’s Emblems in New France    

[2] Also called Conseil supérieur de la Nouvelle-France, Conseil supérieur de Québec or often simply Conseil de Québec. Conseil souverain du Canada is also sometimes used. On  16 June 1703, the number of members was augmented to 12. From that date the King of France designated the insititution as Conseil supérieur

[3] http://fedoraproxy.lib.virginia.edu/fedora/objects/uva-lib:1815254/methods/djatoka:StaticSDef/getStaticImage

[4] Swan, Conrad: Canada, Symbols of Sovereignty. Toronto 1977, pp 106-113

[5] Swan op.cit. 1977, pp.163-168

[6] Swan op.cit. 1977, pp. 168-169

[7] Swan op.cit. 1977, Ch. 12.

[8] Swan op.cit. 1977, p. 61

[9] The arms are on a plate by Frank Beardmore, Fenton, England, ca. 1905 in the Vachon Collection, Canadian Museum of Civilization.


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