Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, founded on June 4, 1988, by Jeanne Sauvé in the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. Luc Saucier, a member of La Société des calligraphes de Montréal, has been associated with this institution since 2005.
1) What is the Canadian Heraldic Authority?
From the twelfth century, European knights adopted the practice of decorating their shields in order to be recognized when they were clad in armor. The primitive coats of arms, often very simplistic, were useful in clearly identifying the person sporting them. Over time, monarchs assumed control of the granting and official use of coats of arms, which allowed them to pay tribute to individuals and groups. A coat of arms thus came to be perceived as a mark of honor awarded by a sovereign. Heralds of arms – officers of the court who also acted as diplomats – were charged with the task of conducting a census to collect the various coats of arms held by the sovereign’s subjects.