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Governor General of Canada / Gouverneur général du Canadaa




More Information about Heraldry

Some useful books on heraldry

To obtain a list of periodicals and books in French, please visit our website at: www.gg.ca/heraldry/info/index_f.asp#livres


Flagscan, published by the Canadian Flag Association. A colourful publication examining the world of flags from a Canadian perspective.

Heraldry in Canada, published by the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. Since 1966, this journal has been an important source of information on the subject of Canadian heraldry. The Society also publishes a newsletter, Gonfanon.


Beddoe, Alan, revised by Strome Galloway, Beddoe's Canadian Heraldry, Belleville, Ont., Mika Publishing Co., 1981, 224 p. Somewhat out of date now, but a good source of information about pre-1988 heraldry in Canada.

Brooke-Little, John, An Heraldic Alphabet, revised edition, London, Robson Books, 1996, 234 p. A useful heraldic dictionary by a veteran English herald.

Friar, Stephen, A Dictionary of Heraldry, New York, Harmony Books, 1987, 384 p. An excellent resource with superlative artistic examples.

Greaves, Kevin, A Canadian Heraldic Primer, Ottawa, Heraldry Society of Canada, 2000, 56 p. Very accessible yet thorough. Ideas about heraldic design are included, and there is substantial Canadian content. Available from the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada.

Gwynn-Jones, Peter, The Art of Heraldry: Origins, Symbols, Designs, London, Parkgate Books, 1998, 128 p. The author is the present Garter King of Arms in England, and this book contains some interesting recent English grants.

Moncreiffe, Iain and Don Pottinger, Simple Heraldry, Edinburgh, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1953, 64 p. A delightful classic, the work of two Scottish heralds.

Neubecker, Ottfried, Heraldry: Sources Symbols and Meaning, London, McGraw-Hill, 1976, 288 p. Profusely illustrated, it examines each component of a coat of arms.

Paston-Bedingfeld, Henry and Peter Gwynn-Jones, Heraldry, London, Bison Books Ltd., 1993, 160 p. A good overview of heraldry by two English heralds, illustrated with examples from the College of Arms in London.

Pastoureau, Michel, Heraldry: an Introduction to a Noble Tradition, New York, Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1997, 144 p. A beautiful book by a leading French scholar.

Slater, Stephen, The Complete Book of Heraldry, London, Lorenz Books, 2002, 256 p. A lavishly illustrated and wide-ranging introduction to heraldry. This is the first international publication that gives substantial coverage of Canadian heraldry.

Swan, Conrad. Symbols of Sovereignty, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1977, 272 p. A historical overview of national and provincial arms, flags and seals.

Symbols of Canada, Ottawa, Dept. of Canadian Heritage, 2002, 59 p. The most recent update of the federal government’s guide to national and provincial symbols, available from Publications Canada. http://publications.gc.ca.

von Volborth, Carl-Alexander, The Art of Heraldry, Poole, Dorset, Blandford Press, 1984, 224 p. This book contains some valuable design advice as well as an overview of artistic styles through the centuries.

von Volborth, Carl-Alexander, Heraldry: Customs, Rules, and Styles, Poole, Dorset, New Orchard Editions, 1981, 229 p. This work is filled with interesting examples, with a focus on European personal heraldry.

The protection of Canadian heraldry
under the Trade-marks Act

In 1993, the Governor General gave Royal Assent to an Act amending the Trade-Marks Act and several other pieces of legislation relating to intellectual property. These changes have made it possible for Canadian armigers to obtain statute protection for their armorial bearings.

These amendments make several technical adjustments to Canada's legislation in this field. The changes take into account the fact that the powers relating to heraldry and coats of arms in Canada are exercised by the Governor General. When placed in context, these new provisions can be read as follows:

9.(1) No person shall adopt in connection with a business, as a trade-mark or otherwise, any mark consisting of, or so nearly resembling as to be likely to be mistaken for...

(n.1) any armorial bearings granted, recorded or approved for use by a recipient pursuant to the prerogative powers of Her Majesty as exercised by the Governor General in respect of the granting of armorial bearings, if the Registrar of Trade-marks has, at the request of the Governor General, given public notice of the grant, recording or approval...

(2) Nothing in this section prevents the adoption, use or registration as a trade-mark or otherwise, in connection with a business, of any mark: (a) described in subsection (1) with the consent of Her Majesty or such other person, society, authority or organization as may be considered to have been intended to be protected by this section...

Recipients of coats of arms granted or registered by the Canadian Heraldic Authority may obtain this level of protection for their arms by asking the Authority to request the Registrar of Trade-marks to publish notice of their grant or registration of armorial bearings in the Trade-marks Journal. A fee of $500 is payable.

A cheque payable to the Receiver General of Canada (Trade-marks) should accompany each request.

Updated: 2019-03-29
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