The Toronto Coat of Arms & City Motto

Found this bit of info on the city website and thought I would share. I added a few changes to the original text for clarity and missing info. I can’t believe this was 16 years ago and can be called a bit of history.

I am not a fan of the “mega-city” but I thought the info would be interesting to some.

Toronto Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms and City Motto

The City of Toronto Coat of Arms is an official symbol and is intended for ceremonial application only. Use of the Coat of Arms on business stationary is restricted to the Mayor and Members of Council and as authorized by Protocol Services.

The Coat of Arms was created after the 1997 amalgamation of the former cities of Etobicoke, York, North York, Scarborough, Toronto, the Borough of East York and the Metro level of government into one “mega-city”.

How the design was created

Members of the public were asked which symbols they would like to have included in the City of Toronto’s new Coat of Arms.

The questionnaire was distributed at the City’s Civic Centres, to Members of Council, libraries, community centres and posted on the City website during the month of July 1998.

More than 1,100 responses were received.

The design was created by the Chief Herald of Canada Robert Watt and granted by His Excellency Romeo LeBlanc, Governor General of Canada.

Council approved the new design on October 30, 1998.

Meaning of each symbol:

“The Shield”: This represents the two towers of Toronto City Hall with the blue sky between and above the towers which form the capital letter T.

“The Eagle”: The golden eagle is a symbol of our native background. It is known for its strength, bravery and power.

“The City Wall”: This is a symbol of the City’s responsibility to shelter and protect its people. On the wall are the symbols of the former City of York (a York rose with green thorns), the former City of North York (a heart for the “city with a heart”) and the former Borough of East York (also a York rose with gold centre).

“The Intertwining Collar”: The collar symbolizes added strength when working together. This is where the motto “Diversity Our Strength” came from.

“The Honeycomb”: This is a symbol of energy and productivity. It is hanging on the collar of the beaver in a gold hexagon shape.

“The Green Alder-Leaf”: An alder is the name of a tree. This is a symbol of the former City of Etobicoke whose name means a “place where alder grows”.

“The Beaver”: This is a symbol of the City’s history for industry and activity. From our history, fur trading made its way to downtown which became known as “Toronto” (the meeting place).

“The Green Grass”: This symbolizes the many parks and recreational facilities of which the City is proud.

“The Bear”: The bear represents strength, determination, caring and protection of its offspring. The dark colour brown represents the colour of the earth.

“The Columbine Flower”: This flower is a symbol of the former City of Scarborough. It is hanging on the collar of the bear in the gold hexagon shape. The placement of the green alder-leaf and the columbine flower shows the geographic placement of Etobicoke on the west and Scarborough on the east.

“The Three Rivers”: This symbol represents the three rivers (Humber, Don & Rouge) flowing into Lake Ontario.

“Diversity Our Strength”: This is the motto that describes the city. It refers to the combined strength of seven municipalities.



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Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography