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Coat of Arms

The City of Owen Sound was founded in 1857, and has had two versions of our coat of arms.

1920 design

The first design, created in 1920, includes a pioneer and a member of the First Nations resting beneath a tree. The Latin motto was 'arbor virga fuit' which translates to 'as the twig is bent so grows the tree.'

Owen Sound's Original Coat of Arms

1967 design

The new design, approved in 1967, remains the existing coat of arms today. Designed by local resident, W.A.E. Parrott, this image is inspired by the original coat of arms and contains many of the same items, including the pioneer, the First Nations member, the tree, and the Latin motto.

Owen Sound's 1967 Coat of Arms


Other items that hold significance in the coat of arms include:

  • The pioneer, dressed in traditional 1800s attire and holding an axe, signifies the land clearing for their cabins and fields;
  • The First Nations person, wearing a headdress of the earliest known inhabitants in the region; the tradition of tying their hair on the top of their head led Champlain and other French explorers to refer to them as 'cheveux releves' or 'high hairs'; and the bow he carries signifies his hunting economy;
  • The shield on a red background represents courage;
  • The golden wheat sheaves represent agriculture, which helped establish the community;
  • The geared wheel and anchor represent the marine relationship and association with the Great Lakes; and
  • The prominence of the horn is based on local history that suggests our first citizen, John Telfer, blew the horn to attract the attention of the government surveyor, Charles Rankin, near the site of the current City Hall, to indicate this was a desirable location for a new community.

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