The Royal Canadian Mint has searched through Library and Archives Canada’s collections to bring you the original drawing for one of Canada’s first heraldic emblems: the 1868 Dominion shield. Working from the original pen-and-ink drawing, the accompanying handwritten notes and the subsequent correspondence, our engravers have meticulously re-created the quartered shield that, from 1868 to 1921, was the only sanctioned armorial bearings for the Dominion of Canada.
The reverse design features the armorial bearings of the Dominion of Canada (1868-1921). It is based on the original 1868 pen and ink drawing by Sir Charles George Young and includes the changes requested by the Duke of Buckingham. Granted by Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria, the Dominion shield features the quartered arms of the first four provinces to join Confederation: Ontario (the cross of St. George and a sprig of three maple leaves), Quebec (two fleurs-de-lis, a lion passant guardant and a sprig of three maple leaves), Nova Scotia (a salmon between three thistles) and New Brunswick (a lion passant guardant and an ancient galley). The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
ABOUT THE DOMINION SHIELD
Dated May 26, 1868, a royal warrant of Her Majesty Queen Victoria granted individual arms to the first four provinces of the newly formed Dominion of Canada: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It further stated that these provincial arms were to be quartered for use as a Great Seal for the new country. While the quartered arms were never used for the Great Seal of Canada, the four-province shield was adopted as the heraldic emblem of the Dominion of Canada. It appeared on the flag of the Governor General of Canada, as well as the Canadian Blue Ensign and the Canadian Red Ensign flown at sea. As more provinces joined Confederation, emblematic devices continued to be (informally) added to the Dominion shield until 1921, when it was replaced with the duly authorized Arms of Canada.