The composition of Québec’s first coat of arms (1868) used fleurs-de-lis to emphasize the French origin of the majority of the population, a gold “leopard,” or lion passant, on a red background to recall Québec’s ties to Great Britain and, finally, a sprig of three maple leaves, the maple leaf being described as a symbol specific to Upper and Lower Canada.

Following various proposals, the government adopted in 1939 a coat of arms reflecting Québec’s political history: the French regime (gold fleurs-de-lis on a blue background), the British regime (gold leopard on a red background), and the Canadian period (sprig of maple leaves). Contrary to the practices followed by the other members of the Canadian federation, Québec adopted its coat of arms without seeking approval from the British authorities.