Governor General Mary Simon unveiled her new coat of arms, described as a reflection of her Inuit culture and her “deep connection to the North”.
Rideau Hall made the announcement Friday, saying the coat of arms reflects Simon’s life story, highlighting not only his ties to the North, but also “his love of family, as well as his distinguished careers as a diplomat.” Canadian, expert in circumpolar affairs and her dedication as an Inuit leader.
“This crest is my story, my true story, and it speaks to my lifelong commitment to building bridges and family, and my hopes for a future where we respect each other and share each other’s stories to help foster better people-to-people relations,” Simon said in a statement.
A Governor General’s coat of arms appears on official documents, academic medals and private seals, the latter giving formal endorsement to certain documents such as officers’ commissions in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Rideau Hall says a key element of the coat of arms is Simon’s commitment to reconciliation.
It includes its motto, “Ajuinnata,” which means “persevere” or “never give up” in Inuktitut, Rideau Hall said.
In the center of the coat of arms is a shield whose colors “represent the snow and skies of northern Canada”, says Rideau Hall on its website. The shape of the shield is similar to the “amauti” or parka worn by Inuit mothers.
The crest features a snowy owl, “known for its agility and adaptability”, as well as caribou antlers, animals that “symbolize the interdependence between man and nature”.
On each flank are two arctic foxes, “famous for their endurance and long migratory treks”.
Hanging from the fox’s neck on the left is a mountain sorrel flower, found in Nunavik in northern Quebec where Simon was born, while the fox on the right wears a strawberry flower pendant, the emblem of Clan Fraser, in honor of Simon’s husband. , Whit Grant Fraser.
We also see a “kakivak” harpoon, intended to honor Simon’s Inuit grandmother.
A blueberry patch sits at the bottom, or compartment, of a coat of arms representing Simon’s favorite pastime, blueberry picking, according to his office. Between the two is cottongrass, a Norse plant used to make wicks for the “qulliq”, a traditional Inuit lamp.
“His Excellency’s coat of arms is simple in composition and, at the same time, extremely complex in meaning,” Samy Khalid, Canada’s chief herald, said in a statement.
“It’s a personal emblem that serves a public purpose. It illustrates how heraldry can express many layers of a person’s identity in a structured yet creative way. The inspiring story told by these coats of arms enriches Canadian heraldry and perpetuates this living tradition.
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