Agenda Index City of Vancouver


Date:October 8, 1998
Author: Bruce S. Chambers
Chief Constable
CC File No: 1009

TO: Vancouver City Council

FROM: Chief Constable

SUBJECT: Adoption of a New Vancouver Police Department Crest



The purpose of this report is to get the Board's approval to initiate a petititon to the Chief Herald of Canada, to receive a Vancouver Police Department badge or crest.


In 1901 the City of Vancouver adopted a coat of arms:

· The shield was representative of Vancouver's magnificent harbour site and its worldwide commerce. Within the shield were silver and blue waves surrounding a red pile inserted with a caduceus of Mercury (medical symbol).
· The ship's sail and mural crown, above the shield, were designed to indicate this was the emblem of a municipal government and a seaport.

In 1969 a new coat of arms was assigned Letters Patent, issued by the College of Arms in London, England. There were several changes made to the older insignia:

· The central pile ("V") was changed to green, and the caduceus was replaced by a Kwakiutl totem pole, one of the most familiar and dramatic of the art forms of the West Coast First Nations.
· The upper portion of the shield was coloured gold and this new area set with two dogwood flowers.

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Overall, the representation of the symbol painted on the Patent showed a more contemporary styling for the various elements, notably the fisherman and the logger.

This coat of arms belongs to the City of Vancouver. At some point in history, the Police Department adopted it as their own. Since the early 1930s, Vancouver Police Officers have worn this coat of arms on their cap badges, and in the early 1970s it was carried over to a uniform shoulder flash. The current flashes worn by police are actually an incorrect version of the current City's coat of arms. The central pile is supposed to be green, yet our version has the old colour red.


Since the 12th century, heraldry has been a European tradition, which began as an emblematic form of individual identification. The control over the granting of arms was assumed by monarchs and sovereign princes, who appointed knowledgeable professionals known as heralds to administer this authority in their name. Since this time, heraldry has continued to evolve and began in Canada with the voyages of French and English explorers. In the 1600s, English, French and Scotish heralds have granted arms to new colonists to this country. In 1988, Canada became the first Commonwealth country to create its own Heraldic authority. The Canadian Heraldic Authority is based out of Ottawa, and is the advisory for heraldic research on behalf of all Canadians. It has only been in the past 10 years that Canadian Police Departments have been granted authority to adopt their own coat of arms. A Police Departments' coat of arms is referred to as a "badge".

The badge is set to a standard format throughout Canada. All police agencies who have been granted these badges have the same outer design

· The maple leaf surround is representative of Canada
· The Royal Crown is the gift from Her Majesty
· The inner portion of the badge is the shield for the City's coat of arms

The Vancouver Police Department Ceremonial Marching Unit is making this petition in order to obtain a new Departmental Flag, known as a colour. A new crest or badge is required to have a colour produced. This colour would be carried in selected parades and funerals. To own one is deemed to be an extremely high honour. The colour would be presented by the Queen (or other Royal Family member) at a very formal ceremony.

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The Chief Herald states that it is the hope of the Queen, that once awarded the honour of a Vancouver Police Department Badge, the police department would eventually utilize the new insignia on uniforms, vehicles and stationary. In the fall of 1998, the current uniform will be drastically changed in style and colour. The uniform committee is currently investigating several potential shoulder flashes to wear on the new shirts. The timing of receiving a new badge could make the decision easy.


The process to adopt this badge is very formal. A petition to the Chief Herald is required to initiate the proceedings. The petition must indicate that approval has been sought and received from the Mayor, City Council and the Police Board.

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