Medals, Emblems & Heraldry | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    A Mari usque ad Mare

    Canada’s official motto is A Mari usque ad Mare, which translates as “From Sea to Sea.”

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  • Article

    Croix de Saint Louis

     In Canada Louis-Hector de CALLIERE (1694) was the first to receive the decoration; Louis de Buade de FRONTENAC received it in 1697. The first Canadian chevalier was Pierre Le Moyne d' IBERVILLE (1699). By 1760 some 145 men had been decorated in Canada.

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  • Article

    Emblems of Canada

    Emblems of Canada include the national coat of arms and flag. When John Cabot arrived on the shores of North America in 1497, he raised a cross and the royal banner of England. Since then, Canada’s emblems have evolved out of those traditionally used by France and Britain.

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  • Interview

    In Conversation with Rod Matheson

    Social Media & Outreach Editor Zach Parrott interviews Rod Matheson for The Canadian Encyclopedia.

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  • Article


    This medal is awarded to members of the air force for bravery (courtesy Library and Archives Canada).Medal A medal is usually a small metal disc, ornamented in relief, struck or cast, and awarded for merit or issued to commemorate an event or person. Medals have essentially the same significance in Canada as elsewhere in the Western world; little noticed in everyday life, they are nevertheless highly esteemed. A distinction is often made between medals of...

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  • Article

    Québec's Motto

    On the plans which he had prepared for the construction of the Hôtel du Parlement de Québec (Québec's parliament buildings), Eugène-Étienne Taché took the initiative to inscribe, under the provincial coat of arms above the main door, a MOTTO of his own invention: Je me souviens (I remember).

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  • Article

    Canadian Red Ensign

    The Canadian Red Ensign was the de facto Canadian national flag from 1868 until 1965. It was based on the ensign flown by British merchant ships since 1707. The three successive formal designs of the Canadian Red Ensign bore the Canadian coats of arms of 1868, 1921 and 1957. In 1891, it was described by the Governor General, Lord Stanley, as “the Flag which has come to be considered as the recognized Flag of the Dominion both afloat and ashore.” Though it was never formally adopted as Canada’s national flag, the Canadian Red Ensign represented Canada as a nation until it was replaced by the maple leaf design in 1965.

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  • Article

    Royal Union Flag (Union Jack)

    Before the adoption of the maple leaf–designed National Flag of Canada in 1965, Canada, first as a colony and later as a dominion, was represented by a succession of royal flags — the flag of France, the Cross of St. George, the first version of the Royal Union Flag (combining the English and Scottish flags), and, finally, the current Royal Union Flag (combining the British and Irish flags, and also known as the Union Jack).

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  • Article

    Editorial: The Stanley Flag and the “Distinctive Canadian Symbol”

    The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated. Prime Minister Lester Pearson and John Matheson, one of his Liberal Members of Parliament, are widely considered the fathers of the Canadian flag. Their names were front and centre in 2015 during the tributes and celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the flag’s creation. But the role played by George Stanley is often lost in the story of how this iconic symbol came to be.

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  • Article


    The following titles are used in Canada.

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