Canadian heraldry

Canadian heraldry

Canadian heraldry refers to the cultural tradition and style of heraldic achievements—coats of arms—in modern and historic Canada, including national, provincial, and civic arms, noble and personal arms, ecclesiastical heraldry, heraldic displays as corporate logos, and Canadian heraldic descriptions.

Canadian heraldry derives mainly from heraldic traditions in France and the United Kingdom while adding distinctly Canadian symbols, especially those which reference the First Nations and other aboriginal peoples of Canada. Canadian heraldry has a unique system of cadency for daughters inheriting arms, and a special symbol for United Empire Loyalists. Since 1988, both personal and corporate heraldry in Canada is officially governed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which reviews all applications for arms.



The first coat of arms to be used in what is now Canada was the Royal Coat of Arms of France, raised by Jacques Cartier upon his landing on Canadian soil.] while the arms of the Canadian Heraldic Authority include ravens, a First Nations symbol of creation and transformation.


In most systems of heraldry, each unique coat of arms is restricted to a single person. To differentiate identical arms, a system—cadency—was developed, possibly by John Writhe in 1500,cite web|url=|title=The Law of Arms: The descent of arms|date=2004-04-10|publisher=College of Arms|language=English|accessdate=2008-10-02] which adds a mark known as a "brisure" to the plain coat of arms.cite web|url=|title=A Glossary of Terms used in Heraldry|last=Parker|first=James|date=1894, published online 2000, updated 2004|language=English|accessdate=2008-10-01]

Most nations have cadences defined (either officially or through convention) only for male children who inherit otherwise identical arms. Canada is unique in having a series of cadences for use by female children who inherit arms. As in other heraldic systems, these cadency marks are not always used.cite web|url=|publisher=Royal Heraldry Society of Canada|title=Heraldry Examination|accessdate=2008-08-30]

;BrisuresImages are provided as a general example only, and are not necessarily in perfect accord with rules of Canadian heraldry.]

As with marks of cadency in other systems, the cadences of the heir (in Canada, the first child, whether male or female, according to strict primogeniture) are removed once the holder dies and the plain coat of arms is inherited.

United Empire Loyalists

Those who are descended from the United Empire Loyalists (citizens loyal to the British Crown who fled the nascent United States of America during and shortly after the revolution) are entitled to the use of special coronets within their arms, if arms are granted to them. There are two versions of the Loyalist coronet: the civil, which is made up of alternating oak and maple leaves, and the military, made up of maple leaves alternating with crossed swords. Proof of Loyalist heritage must be provided to the Canadian Heraldic Authority before permission is granted to use the coronet in arms.

Obtaining arms

:"Main article: Grant Process"

All citizens of Canada, as well as corporate bodies, may petition the Crown for an award of arms. The process for non-armigerous people to obtain arms is relatively simple. For an individual to obtain a grant of arms, a petition must be sent to the Chief Herald, providing a biography, references, and completed application forms. Upon approval of the grant (if it is approved), the individual then consults with heralds from the Authority to work out the design of their award. Upon completion of this process, the grant documents (letters patent) are created and provided to the grantee. The entire process is subject to certain fees required by the Government of Canada to cover costs of research, artwork, etc.; the fees are not to 'purchase' the grant of arms. For corporations and institutions the process is similar.

Those individuals and institutions who already possess awards of arms may apply to the Canadian Heraldic Authority to have their arms registered. There is no cost associated with application for registration, and it takes less time (approximately three months)cite web|url=|publisher=Canadian Heraldic Authority|title=FAQ|accessdate=2008-08-23] than application for a new award of arms (approximately twelve to fourteen months).

ee also

*Coat of arms of Canada
*Flag of Canada
*National symbols of Canada



External links

* [ Canadian Heraldic Authority]
* [ The Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada]
* [ Royal Heraldry Society of Canada]
* [ Canadian Heritage: The Symbols of Canada]

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