Coat of Arms for the City of Toronto
The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee recommends that:
(1)the proposed Coat of Arms for the City of Toronto be approved subject to the
(a)replacing the symbol of a Bald Eagle with that of a Golden Eagle and that its stance
be as that depicted on the drawing distributed at Committee;
(b)the incorporation of a Maple Leaf symbol on either side of the lower part of the Coat
of Arms in red and depicted as flowing; and
(c)replacing the texture of the grass to depict it as smooth rather than rough;
(2)Council select the motto "Diversity Our Strength" for the Coat of Arms;
(3)the Chief Administrator Officer forward the approved design for the Coat of Arms
to the Fire Chief, the Police Chief and the General Manager of Toronto Ambulances to
inform them of the opportunity to receive a badge from the Coat of Arms by Crown
(4)the appropriate City officials be authorized to take appropriate action to give effect
The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee reports having requested:
(1)the Chief Herald of Canada to incorporate the Committee's recommended changes to the
Coat of Arms into a revised design for submission to City Council at its meeting on
(2)the Chief Herald of Canada to discuss with representatives from the First Nations people
the symbolism of the Committee's recommendation that the Bald Eagle be replaced with that
of a Golden Eagle and report directly to Council; and
(3)the Chief Administrative Officer to report directly to Council on:
(a)the possibility of incorporating the approved Coat of Arms as the Flag of the City; and
(b)the amount of funding involved in the development and use of the Coat of Arms.
The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee submits the following report
(October13,1998) from the Chief Administrative Officer:
To propose a Coat of Arms for the City of Toronto.
Funding Sources, Financial Implications and Impact Statement:
The funding for the development of the Coat of Arms has been provided in the Clerk's Budget
- Protocol Office.
Further expenditures will arise in the application of the City's new corporate symbol. Any
expenditures to utilize this symbol beyond those in the current budget, will be identified as
part of the 1999 budget process.
The guidelines that will describe how to use this new symbol will be included as part of the
Visual Identity Manual, currently being developed by the Communications Division.
It is recommended that:
(1)Council approve the Coat of Arms for the City of Toronto as proposed by the Chief Herald
(2)Council select a motto for the Coat of Arms from the following:
Diversity Our strength
The Meeting Place
Home to the World
Stronger in Unity
Strength in Diversity
A new Destiny
(3)the Chief Administrative Officer forward the approved design for the Coat of Arms to the
Fire Chief and Police Chief to inform them of the opportunity to receive a badge from the
Coat of Arms by Crown grant; and
(4)the appropriate City officials be authorized and directed to take appropriate action to give
Robert Watt Chief Herald of Canada responded in November 1998 to an enquiry from
officials from across the seven former municipalities. In consultation with a civic working
group the Chief Herald developed a design for the Coat of Arms. This design was presented to
the Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee at its meeting on May 5,1998. Reverend Dr.
Robert M. Black, Chaplain of Trinity College, University of Toronto and technical consultant
to the Chief Herald presented the design to the Committee.
The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee referred the report from the Chief
Administrative Officer dated April 28, 1998, back to staff and requested the City Clerk to
co-operate with the Chief Herald's Office to facilitate input from Members of Council and
eventually the public via the Community Council Chairs.
The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee also requested that the new Coat of Arms for
the new City of Toronto contain a component of each of the former municipalities, if possible
and that a large component include recognition of the City's aboriginal heritage.
Comments and/or Discussion:
The Chief Herald of Canada proposed to the Community Council Chairs at a meeting on
June18,1998, that the City of Toronto undertake a public consultation process similar to the
City of Penticton, British Columbia. The consultation process involved circulating a
questionnaire inviting the public to indicate the elements that residents would like to have
included in the Coat of Arms including flora, fauna, colours, mottos and themes. A summary
of the results is attached as Appendix A. The questionnaires were distributed through the
Civic Services Centres, Members of Council, some libraries and community centres and the
City of Toronto web site during the month of July. Over 1100 responses were received and the
results were forwarded to the Chief Herald. Mr. Watt interpreted the responses and created the
proposed new design.
Further revisions to the design were made over the summer and early fall with input from the
Community Council Chairs and various staff. In addition, Mr. Watt consulted with Chief
Carole King and the elders of the Mississauga First Credit Nations on how a symbol
representing the First Nations should be depicted in the Coat of Arms.
Dr. Black's detailed description of the proposed Coat of Arms follows.
"The shield: Or a chief and pale Azure. This is intended to allude to the two towers of the
Toronto City Hall, a refurbished landmark property owned by the City and housing Council.
As the architect of that space intended, the blue sky between and above the towers also forms
the capital letter T. This elevates the symbol to a kind of a letter-mark that is straightaway
understood by the viewer.
The crest: On a mound Vert issuant from a mural coronet Or charged in the centre with a heart
Gules between two York roses Proper an eagle rising wings elevated and addorsed also
This eagle is the principal totemic symbol of the First Nations people whose territory
anciently was that on which the City of Toronto now stands. (The successors of this
population now reside at Hagersville, Ontario.) Consulted and asked for their contribution,
they proposed the eagle to represent them. Symbolically the eagle is sovereign of the birds,
known for its might and valour, its energy and renewal, its serenity and dominion. The
figurative city wall is a reference to the City's function of sheltering and protecting its
citizens. On it are symbols for the former City of York (a York rose with green "barbs"), the
former City of North York ( for "the city with heart"), and the former Borough of East York (
a white rose with gold centre). They are in a position in the design approximately that of their
geographical location within the new City of Toronto.
The dexter supporter: a beaver Proper collared of a cord Guiles pendant therefrom on a
hexagon Or an alder leaf Vert. On the left-hand side of the design is a beaver in its natural
colours, a notable symbol of the area throughout its history, as a symbol of industry and
activity. Trade in its fur was a reason the various historic paths converged on what is now the
downtown area, giving birth to its indigenous name, "Toronto" (the meeting place). The
beaver is collared to show taming of its energies; the intertwined strands speak of the added
strength each has when working together, suggesting the emergence of strength out of
diversity as an idea for the new City. From the rope is pendant a gold hexagon (alluding to
honeycomb, symbol of energy and productivity) on which is a green alder-leaf. This latter
makes reference to the former City of Etobicoke, whose name means "place where alders
The sinister supporter: A bear Proper collared of a cord Gules pendant therefrom on a
hexagon Or a columbine flower Azure. On the right-hand side the shield is supported by a
bear in its natural colours, a symbol of strength, of tenacity, of solidity, of care in the rearing
and protection of offspring, coloured dark brown like the earth itself. It, too, is collared with a
rope, showing its common purpose with the other, very different, supporter. From the collar is
pendant a gold hexagon with the floral emblem symbol of the former City of Scarborough, the
columbine flower. Together, the placement of these symbols alludes to the geographical
flanking of Etobicoke on the west and Scarborough on the east of the new City of Toronto.
The supporters stand on a compartment of green grass - referring especially to the many parks
and recreational facilities of which the City is proud and on which are depicted three rivers
entering a lake, at one level insinuating separate bodies maintaining a larger one, but in fact a
reference to the geographical position of the City vis-a-vis Lake Ontario.
The mottoes are drawn from a very large number proposed by the public. A motto can be
simply descriptive (reporting a fact), but if it can be allusive (conveying an inspiring thought)
it seems to invoke greater interest and have a longer staying-power. The motto shown here is
allusive: Diversity Our Strength. Others with significant levels of support were: The Meeting
Place, Home to the City, Stronger in Unity, Strength in Diversity and A New Destiny."
If Council accepts the proposal, other opportunities for related symbols exist, notably for
uniformed Emergency Services personnel.
The Chief Herald is proposing a formal corporate emblem in heraldic tradition that embodies
all of the communities from across this City as well as many traditional symbols of the City.
Elements of the Coat of Arms may be used separately to represent the City as a badge or an
official flag. This design, we believe, blends the input received from the public consultation
with the traditions of heraldry into a Coat of Arms for the new City.
Daphne Gaby Donaldson, Chief of Protocol, 392-4273.