World Civic Heraldry Guide: coats of arms and flags of cities, regions, states
British Columbia (province in Canada), large coat of arms
The Province received arms by Royal Warrant of Edward VII on March 31st, 1906. Interestingly, only the shield and motto were granted. Beanlands’ concept survived but with the sun and Union Jack reversed to conform to proper heraldic practice and with a golden antique crown in the centre point of the Union Jack. For the time being the Province decided not to seek a grant of the crest and supporters which had also been adopted in 1895, although they continued to be used and in fact have been used down to the present day.
Since its adoption in flag form in 1960, the shield has become the most widely recognized provincial symbol. For over 70 years the full arms, with official shield and motto and unofficial crest and supporters have been the principal device to identify British Columbia’s government and its services. As such it is a most important element in our visual heritage appearing on countless documents, proclamations and as a decoration on public buildings.
Despite several attempts to regularize the situation, the difficulty posed by the use of the Royal Crest seemed insurmountable. Happily, as today’s events prove, a beautiful and historic solution has been found and in the process, the Province has been uniquely honoured by the Sovereign. With Her Majesty’s agreement, the Royal Crest is for the first time in history being granted, with an appropriate differencing mark, to another sovereign entity. Henceforth the lion will bear a garland of dogwoods, the Province’s official flower.
Three other changes are being made. The golden helmet of sovereignty is placed between the shield and the crest as a mark of British Columbia’s CO-sovereign status in Confederation, an appropriate signal of the completion of the patriation process.
Above the helmet are the traditional heraldic elements of a wreath and mantling. These are red and white, Canada’s national colours as established in the Canadian Coat of Arms granted in 1921. The provincial flower is featured a second time by entwining dogwoods around the motto scroll. /Government of British Columbia, www.protocol.gov.bc.ca/
adopted (dd.mm.yyyy): 31.03.1906
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