Gules a Chinese phoenix
August 16, 2005 7:46 PM   Subscribe

The Canadian Heraldic Authority, established in 1988, issues coats of arms, flags, and badges to citzens and corporate bodies of Canada. Canada is the only Commonwealth nation to have its own heraldic authority. I wasn't sure what 21st-century, global-culture coats of arms would look like, though, until I came across the coat of arms of G. G. Adrienne Clarkson, which I think are the most impressive coat of arms I have ever come across. The existence of the monarchy and its trappings may be mildly controversial, but these are undeniably works of art. [mi]
posted by blacklite (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They're crazy multicultural. Icelandic National League. Friends of Austria. And I just think this is cool: Canadian Forces Electronic Warfare Centre. (It has a raven.)
The Justice Centre of British Columbia is azure and white with orca and polar bear supporting.
Barbara Zaharescu has an interesting blend of black and orange on her coat of arms; Richard Bodéüs is mostly dark, "an Owl affronty".
And The City of Whitehorse's is just pretty.
posted by blacklite at 7:50 PM on August 16, 2005

This is fantastic stuff. I am surprised that one of the Frequently Asked Questions is not "How do I get me one of them thar nifty things?"
posted by nightchrome at 7:57 PM on August 16, 2005

nightchrome, I agree. I clicked on the FAQ with exactly that question in mind :)
posted by carmen at 7:58 PM on August 16, 2005


You're not kidding, the arms of the GG are amazingly beautiful.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:23 PM on August 16, 2005

The procedure guide. Apparently you're supposed to have made a contribution to the community, though they gave one to Israel Asper, so the standards can't be particularly high.

Heh. This person is called John Christian Thomas Wendell Matthew VON BENDER.

P.S. There are all sorts of fees.

P.P.S. MetaFilter ought to apply for one. They've got all sorts of institutions in this, some international.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 8:30 PM on August 16, 2005

Count Ziggurat,

I wonder if Von Bender ever met Baron Von Cramm?

In Oz, these types of "get your own herald" businesses are common, and I'm pretty sure they're not attached to any government registrar. I've always thought they were a bit dodgy.

Nice idea by the Canadians to make it all official.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:39 PM on August 16, 2005

Clarkson's coat of arms is missing a rampant Visa© logo.
posted by islander at 8:57 PM on August 16, 2005

Requests for new arms or registrations of existing arms take the form of a "petition" addressed to the Chief Herald of Canada, who must assess and approve the request before a warrant for the grant can be signed by the Herald Chancellor or the Deputy Herald Chancellor. A herald then works with the petitioner to create a design, which is then rendered artistically, in two separate stages, by an artist assigned by the Authority. Completed grant or registration documents are recorded in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, and the notice of the grant or registration is published in the Canada Gazette. [SOURCE]
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:59 PM on August 16, 2005

Heraldry is like totally stultifyingly lame-ass, dudes.

Now, Japanese family crests, I could dig having one of those.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:02 PM on August 16, 2005

On the subject of heraldry, my favorite little bit of trivia is regarding the blazon of the arms of Brittany. The blazon is the formulaic text description of a coat of arms; while (and because) artists might interpret the blazon differently for the actual arms, the blazon is static and that's what a heraldic authority actually grants.

For instance, the blazon of Mme. Clarkson's arms is, roughly:
Arms: Gules a Chinese phoenix regarding a lightning flash and rising from flames issuant from a maple leaf the whole ensigned by a representation of the Royal Crown all Or; Crest: A loon (Gavia immer) calling proper naiant within a circlet of trillium flowers Argent seeded Or;
Supporters: Two tigers Or and Argent embellished Sable each gorged with a ribbon Gules, pendant therefrom a plate surmounted by a cross Gules the whole upon rocks set with four wind-swept jack pines proper; Motto: VERUM SOLUM DICATUR • VERUM SOLUM ACCIPIATUR.
and the blazon of the Coat of Arms of Canada is
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 unguled or, gorged with a coronet composed of crosses-patée and fleurs-de-lis a chain affixed thereto reflexed of the last, and holding a like lance flying therefrom to the sinister a banner azure charged with three 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 lillies a scroll azure inscribed with the motto A mari usque ad mare.
The blazon of Brittany is:
That's it! Just "Ermine". It looks like this. It's like the "" of heraldry.

I can't imagine myself ever doing SCA stuff, but if I did, herald for sure.
posted by mendel at 9:28 PM on August 16, 2005

That Justice Centre of British Columbia coat of arms has an orca with a wreath of flowers around its neck. What's next, something like:

Arms: Rainbow, heart Gules, the whole ensigned by lots of candy.
Crest: Head of Malibu Barbie with eyes Azure.
Supporters: Two My Little Ponies Rose and Or.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:43 PM on August 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


(Ok. I cheated.)
posted by ori at 10:20 PM on August 16, 2005

A friend just pointed out the best defence badge ever. Canadian Forces Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Company. Awesome. NUNQUAM NONPARATI: never unprepared.
posted by blacklite at 10:59 PM on August 16, 2005

Ok, I am not doing the "via" thing, but is it an incredible coincidence that this is the wiki article of the day?

Having visited wiki earlier this morning, I snickered at the idea of someone posting to it as the prominent piece of a very prominent site. That being said, you've added some links, and it is an interesting topic. Bizarre coincidence??
posted by dreamsign at 9:18 AM on August 17, 2005

Reading this page, and the comments that followed it, i'm encouraged to try and obtain my own... $1900 wouldn't be that much for something that cool, imnsho.

What I wonder is how much control you get over the design of the herald, or whether some bean counter sitting at a desk in Ottawa picks the elements for it based on your accomplishments...
posted by Snowflake at 11:30 AM on August 17, 2005

As a Canadian, I, too, have Coats with Arms. Two of them, each. Canada r0xx!
posted by five fresh fish at 2:12 PM on August 17, 2005

Oh, it isn't, dreamsign. I did some further browsing and found the registry, and how seriously awesome some of the coats of arms and badges were, and I had to post it somewhere.

Snowflake, you and the designated artist discuss it thoroughly. It sounds like they're pretty good at what they do. The Chief Herald of Canada also has to approve every single one.
posted by blacklite at 5:18 PM on August 17, 2005

Reading this page, and the comments that followed it, i'm encouraged to try and obtain my own... $1900 wouldn't be that much for something that cool, imnsho.

I have previously looked up the coat of arms for my surname and it is teh gey.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:44 PM on August 17, 2005

any Canadian or Canadian company can get one from the heraldic authority, but you have to pay through the nose because there are VERY few people qualified to design them.
posted by tiamat at 5:57 PM on August 17, 2005

I have previously looked up the coat of arms for my surname and it is teh gey.

Keep in mind that coats of arms aren't for a surname, they're for an individual. They're "yours" as much as a mansion the bearer lived in is "yours".
posted by mendel at 12:29 PM on August 26, 2005

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