Heraldry is a form of identification using emblems. It started in 12th-century Europe when knights painted their shields to identify themselves while wearing armour. These coats of arms displayed the individual’s identity on the battlefield. The administration and tracking of coats of arms eventually transitioned to monarchies. The granting of these heraldic identification became an honour or reward for individuals or groups.
The Canadian Heraldic Authority, overseen by the Governor General’s office, grants coats of arms to Canadians. Canada is the first Commonwealth country to patriate the practice of this heraldic authority.
View the heraldry images on Flickr.