In 1985, Saskatchewan Heritage Year, the provincial government decided to complete Saskatchewan’s armorial bearings by adding a crest, supporters and motto to the shield of arms. The College of Arms in London, England, approved a basic design submitted by the province.
On September 16, 1986, at a ceremony in the Legislative Chamber in Regina, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauve, Governor General of Canada, signed a Royal Warrant on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen approving the Complete Armorial Achievement of the Province of Saskatchewan. His Honour the Honourable F.W. Johnson, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, signed a Proclamation in Her Majesty’s name authorizing its use in and for the Province (click here to view the Proclamation).
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The new design, an augmentation of the shield of arms, thus became ?Her Majesty’s Arms in right of Saskatchewan?? that is, the province’s official coat of arms. The augmented armorial bearings were authorized by The Queen as follows:
Upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Gules a Beaver upholding with its back Our Royal Crown and holding in the dexter fore-claws a Western Red Lily (Lilium philadelphicum andinum) slipped all proper Mantled Gules doubled Argent.
On the dexter side a Lion Or gorged with a Collar of Prairie Indian beadwork proper and dependent therefrom a six-pointed Mullet faceted Argent fimbriated and garnished Or charged with a Maple leaf Gules and on the sinister side a White tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) proper gorged with a like Collar and dependent therefrom a like Mullet charged with a Western Red Lily slipped and leaved proper.
Beneath the Shield a Scroll entwined with Western Red Lilies slipped and leaved proper inscribed with the Motto MULTIS E GENTIBUS VIRES.
The additions to the shield of arms and their symbolic meaning can be described in more general terms as follows:
Immediately above the shield is a helm (or helmet) facing left, representing the co-sovereign status of the Province in Confederation. The helm is decorated with mantling in red and white, the national colours of Canada. Above the helm is a wreath, also in red and white, which supports a beaver ? Canada’s national animal representing the North, the fur trade and our Native people. The beaver holds a western red lily, Saskatchewan’s floral emblem. The beaver is surmounted by the Crown, symbol of the Province’s direct link with the Sovereign through the Lieutenant Governor.
To the left of the shield of arms is a royal lion, a traditional heraldic symbol; and to the right a white-tailed deer, an animal indigenous to Saskatchewan and the provincial animal.
Both supporters wear collars of Prairie Indian beadwork, from which are suspended badges (mullets) in the form of the six-pointed star (stylized lily) of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, instituted as the Province’s highest honour in 1985. The badge worn by the lion displays Canada’s emblem, the maple leaf; that worn by the deer displays Saskatchewan’s official flower, the western red lily.
Below the shield is a compartment of western red lilies, supporting a scroll with the provincial motto MULTIS E GENTIBUS VIRES ? Latin for “From Many Peoples Strength.”
The motto expresses Saskatchewan’s multicultural heritage, the contribution of the Indian and Native cultures, and the key role of immigration in the province. The root meaning of the Latin gens (from which gentibus is derived) is “people” in the sense of race or origin. The word vires connotes vigour, energy and mental strength. The Latin rendering was suggested by words of a poem by the Roman poet Catullus.
The colours in the coat of arms derive from nature and represent aspects typical of the province: ochre or gold for wheat; green for forests and grass; red for the western red lily or prairie fires; brown for the soil.
The full coat of arms is reserved for the Lieutenant Governor; the Premier and Cabinet Ministers; the Speaker, Members and officers of the Legislative Assembly; the Courts of Justice; and government documents such as proclamations, certificates, reports, and formal invitations and programmes.
The shield of arms by itself is used by the Saskatchewan Archives Board, Ombudsman, Provincial Auditor, and Electoral Office, and on certain official documents and seals. The shield of arms surmounted by the Crown and surrounded by a wreath of western red lilies is used on the uniforms and vehicles of provincial law enforcement officers.