Design Your Own Flag or Coat of Arms
Any Canadian individual or institution can design a flag that is heraldically correct and officially registered, thanks to an organization called the Canadian Heraldic Authority (CHA).
In 1988, Queen Elizabeth authorized Governor General Jeanne Sauvé and her successors to exercise the royal prerogative of granting armorial bearings in Canada. The CHA
manages the Canadian heraldic system. The Authority’s experts, called heralds, assist individuals and institutions to develop armorial bearings, which include coats of arms, flags and badges. They also record symbols of First Nations and all insignia used by the Canadian Forces.
Any individual or institution may petition the Chief Herald of Canada for a grant of new arms or to register previously granted ones. To qualify, petitioners must have made a recognized contribution to their communities. Once an individual’s petition is approved, one of the CHA’s heralds becomes your personal consultant, helping you develop your personal armorial bearings. To this task the herald brings extensive knowledge of heraldic tradition and the rules of emblematic design, along with a lively sense of Canadian history and geography. First a detailed description of the design is developed, then this written description is made visual by one of the heraldic artists overseen by the Fraser Herald, who is the CHA’s principal artist.
In special cases the Governor General grants arms by a Vice-regal Warrant. Sometimes these Vice-regal Warrants are presented in a public ceremony. Normally the grant is made by means of letters patent signed by the Chief Herald. The whole process generally takes at least twelve months and costs as little as $2,000.