The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
Heraldry Today
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Emblems of the Authority

Arms and Crest

Arms and CrestThe arms and crest blend two themes: viceregal authority for Canadian heraldry and the activity of heraldry in Canada. The dominant colours, red and white, are Canada’s national colours.

The crest is a variation of the Royal Crest of Canada, emblematic of the viceregal office. In this case, the crowned Royal Lion carries a white shield bearing a red maple leaf, symbolizing the exercise of the Queen’s heraldic prerogative by the Governor General.

The nature and work of the Authority itself are represented in the shield of arms, on which Canada’s red maple leaf bears a plain white shield as a sign of heraldry to be created and recorded for Canadians.

The arms and crest appear on the Authority’s seal and on the letters patent documents granting and registering armorial bearings.

Full Armorial Bearings

The augmentation of the Authority’s arms, which was confirmed in a Viceregal Warrant of January 15, 1994, was created to mark the Authority’s fifth anniversary in 1993.

That year had also been designated as the International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations, an event that inspired the heralds to propose as supporters “raven-bears,” a new heraldic beast combining two creatures that are particularly significant in aboriginal symbolism. The colours repeat those of the arms.

The supporters stand on an outcrop of the geological formation known as the Canadian Shield, representing the solid foundations on which the Authority has been established. The rock is strewn with red maple leaves and gold maple seeds. The motto, HONORENTUR PATRIAM HONORANTES, means “Let us honour those who honour our country” and it emphasizes the nature of heraldry as an honour granted by the Crown and its status as a major component of the national honours system.

Arms of the Canadian Heraldic Authority

Arms of the Canadian Heraldic AuthorityThe shield features the maple leaf of Canada charged with a smaller shield, which indicates the heraldic responsibilities of the Authority.

The crest consists of the crowned lion resting its paw on a shield, symbolizing the fact that the Governor General is the head of the Authority and that heraldic emblems are honours flowing from the Canadian Crown.

The supporters are special heraldic beasts, half raven and half polar bear. Many First nations in Canada regard the raven as a creator or transformer, while the polar bear is known for its strength and endurance. These supporters represent the responsibility of Canada's heralds to create symbols for a wide range of Canadian institutions and individuals. The supporters rest on an outcrop of the Canadian Shield, representing the solid foundations on which the Authority has been established.

The Latin motto can be translated as: Let those who honour their country be honoured.

Date modified: October 28, 2013