National Council of Women of Canada Coat of Arms
“To honour all those women who have contributed to Canada’s development through the work of the Council and to celebrate the centennial of the founding of the Council”
These words were presented to the National Council of Women by His Excellency the Right Honourable Raymond John Hnatyshyn on May 13, 1993 at the Gala Opening in Government House of the one hundredth Annual General Meeting of the National Council.
Symbolism of the Coat of Arms
… Excerpts from the official description…
The colors of blue, white, red and gold are classic heraldic colors which in this case permit at the centre of the design the red maple leaf of Canada bearing a representation, in gold, of the Council’s traditional emblem, the “Golden Rule ” ribbon. The leaf and the ribbon represent the whole federation of Canadian women gathered together in the Council. The concept of a “gathering together” and the strength that comes from collective effort is underlined by surrounding the central leaf with twelve more bows, in blue, one for each of the provinces and territories of Canada. Not only does the bow recall the long and distinguished history of the Council…it is a subtle, but widely recognized symbol of women.
The wavy bars of blue and white symbolize both the motto of Canada, “From Sea to Sea”, and the seas, lakes and rivers in and around Canada. The Grassy mound symbolizes the land of Canada, and the trees above, the concern for the environment. The symbolism of the maple trees is complex. In the first place they recall an important element of the philosophy of the First Peoples, the stewardship of the earth and living things. The central tree also represents the community of women offering shelter and support for many groups: children, the family, immigrants, and disadvantaged women. In the shadow of the fully-grown tree, the young saplings represent new growth, new developments. At the base of the trees, on the grass, are gold maple seeds symbolizing new directions and new possibilities. The trees also symbolize change and evolution; they are living things, mirroring the ongoing evolution of the Council.
ALTIOR – This is a permanent commemoration of Lady Aberdeen, the founding President. It was her motto which she used frequently to offer encouragement and as a succinct reminder of the Council’s purposes. “Ever Higher” remains a fine clarion call and statement of aspirations a century later.