Coat of Arms of British Columbia
The coat of arms of British Columbia, known officially as The Arms of Her Majesty in Right of the Province of British Columbia, was begun in its current form when the shield and motto in the achievement were granted on March 31, 1906 by King Edward VII.
The shield features a Union Jack in chief, with a crown (known heraldically as an antique crown) at its centre; in base, it has the sun setting into the ocean, representing the province's location on the Pacific.
The motto, Splendor sine occasu (Splendour without diminishment) literally means "Splendour without setting," and once again refers to the sunset and the Pacific.
The crest is the Queen's royal crest (a gold lion statant gardant - standing on all fours and facing the viewer - wearing the royal crown), differenced with a garland of Pacific dogwood, the provincial flower.
The supporters are a wapiti stag and a bighorn sheep, of which the latter is the provincial animal. The wapiti of Vancouver Island and the bighorn sheep of the mainland of the province symbolizes the union of the two colonies which united to form British Columbia in 1866.
The compartment is a garland of Pacific dogwood.
The first heraldic provincial symbol was the Great Seal of the province, being the royal crest of the crowned lion upon the imperial crown as was the usual practice for British colonies, but with the letters BC added. This was used from the 1870s on.
The first coat of arms of the province was created by Canon Arthur Beanlands of Victoria, whose version was similar to the modern one, except with the charges on the shield reversed - the chief was the setting sun, and the main part of the shield was the Union Jack. This coat was adopted by Order-in-Council of the province as the Great Seal on July 19, 1895.
However, although the design of the Great Seal was a provincial prerogative, coats of arms were (and are) honours granted by the Sovereign. The province attempted to register the design with the British College of Heralds in 1897, but was unable to do so due to several problems. First among them was the use of the Royal Crest, which is the exclusive right of the Sovereign and could not be granted to another entity even as a sign of utmost loyalty to the Queen. The heralds also pointed out that the Union Jack was in an inferior position on the shield, and that the use of supporters (a high honour) was presumptuous as no other province had been granted such yet.
The shield only (with the positions of the Union Jack and setting sun reversed, and with the antique crown added), along with the motto, was granted in 1906. The remainder of the achievement, including the royal crest (its use made permissible by differencing it with the wreath of dogwood), was granted in 1987.
The coat of arms of British Columbia is blazoned as follows:
- Shield: Argent, 3 bars wavy azure, issuant from the base a demi-sun in splendour proper, on a chief, the Union Device charged in the centre point with an antique crown Or.
- Crest: Upon a helm with a wreath argent and gules the royal crest of general purpose of our royal predecessor Queen Victoria differenced for us and our successors in right of British Columbia with the lion thereof garlanded about the neck with the provincial flower that is to say the pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttalli) with leaves all proper mantled gules doubled argent.
- Supporters: On the dexter side, a wapiti stag (Cervus canadensis) proper and on the sinister side a bighorn sheep ram (Ovis canadensis) argent armed and unguled Or.
- Compartment and motto: Beneath the shield a scroll entwined with pacific dogwood flowers slipped and leaved proper inscribed with the motto assigned by the said warrant of our royal predecessor King Edward VII that is to say "Splendor sine occasu".
Other Canadian coats of arms
- British Columbia
- Flag of British Columbia
- List of Canadian provincial and territorial symbols