Emblems of Montreal

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The City of Montreal adopted its first coat of arms in 1833, which was designed by Jacques Viger, the city's first mayor. Modifications were made some one=hundred-five years later, the changes approved on 21 March 1938, resulting in the version currently in use. In 1981, a logo was also developed by the city for common daily use, reserving the coat of arms for ceremonial events and formal occasions.

Coats of arms

The first coat of arms, designed by Mayor Jacques Viger and adopted by the city council in 1833, was argent with a red saltire, with four charges between each of the arms, each representative of one of the four main components of the population. In the chief a rose was for placed for the English heritage of the population, to the dexter a thistle for the Scots, the sinister a sprig of clover for the Irish heritage of the city and in base a beaver for the French that originally settled the territory and traded in furs.

In 1938, the city council requested the coat of arms be updated to better reflect Montreal's population. The changes replaced the saltire with a cross, which then was reminiscent of both the St George's Cross, a common emblem employed by the English and even borne upon the country's flag and one also associated with Christian missionary missions that would be reminiscent of the French Catholics that originally founded the city. The beaver had become a symbol of the whole of Montreal and of the industriousness of the population in the proceeding century since the adoption of the first coat of arms, and was moved to ensign the shield. A blue fleur de lys replaced the beaver charge that was used to symbolize the descendants of the original French settlers. The rose, thistle and clover remained. The shield was surrounded by a wreath of sugar maple to symbolize the amicable relations between the various elements of Montreal's population and an allusion to the maple as a national emblem of Canada. The scroll and motto below the shield read Concordia Salus, a Latin phrase translated as "Salvation through harmony."


In 1981, with an attempt to modernize the city's emblems, Montreal introduced a logo for common municipal use, while the coat of arms would be reserved for the most formal of ceremonies and events. The device consists of the city's name and a stylized rosette that is itself composed of four hearts. According to official standards, the type is to be black and the rosette red, but a few variations exist for printing purposes when the set colours would not contrast well on documents, or for monotone prints.

The Municipal Community of Montreal attempted to unify the City of Montreal with the other eighty-one surrounding municipalities under one logo in 2006. The logo that was introduced consisted of a stylized M meant to look, as the design firm put it, "deliberately chubby, very welcoming, like a comfy chair." However, the logo received much negative criticism for its childish simplicity, and was likened to clown paint, Smarties candies, jelly beans, garbage and even vomit. Public sentiment grew increasingly negative when it was discovered the cost of the ill-received design was $487,000, which was paid out from the public fund. Montreal itself continues to use the 1981 logo, and even the Municipal Community of Montreal has since dropped the design they themselves introduced.