Coat of arms, flag and symbols
The coat of arms
The Montréal coat of arms was adopted in 1833 by the city councillors of the time. It was modified 105 years later and that version remains in use today. In fact, this crest was the only city emblem until 1981 when a stylized logo was developed. Both the coat of arms and logo now represent Montréal, although traditionally, the crest is reserved for special uses.
“Argent, a cross gules, quartered of the first a fleur de lys azure; of the second a rose gules, stemmed, foliated and pointed vert; of the third a thistle of the same, flory purple; of the fourth, a trefoil of vert. Timbré a beaver couchant on a branch natural. The shield surrounded by a spray of maple leaves vert.”
Form of shield — Following the example of the province, Montréal, whose history and beginnings are identical to it, has adopted the French form of shield.
The field — The field is silver to recall the old coat of arms which was created by the first mayor of Montréal, Jacques Viger.
Heraldic cross — The heraldic cross is emblematic of the Christian motives and principles which governed the founders of the city.
National emblems — The field is quartered to contain four floral designs each of which represents the ethnic origin of the Montréal population in the 19th century.
These emblems are:
The fleur de lys, of the Royal House of Bourbon. This is shown in the first quarter of the shield and represents the French settlers who were the first to claim the island of Montréal
The Lancastrian rose which occupies the second quarter. It stands for the English component of the city's population.
The thistle, which is shown in the third quarter, represents those of Scottish descent.
In the fourth quarter is the Irish shamrock, likewise indicative of the fact that many of Montréal's early settlers and their descendants are of Irish blood.
The device on the scroll — The motto "CONCORDIA SALUS," salvation through harmony, is inscribed on the scroll below the crest. This arrangement is also the same as on the arms of the province of Québec arms.
The maple leaves — Montréal's coat of arms, like that of Québec, is surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves. They are the leaves of the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and they symbolize the amicable relations between the various elements of the city's population.
The beaver — Mounted over the shield is a beaver representing the industriousness of Montrealers who have worked to develop our city.
The city flag was first displayed in May 1939. The flag is blazoned with the same heraldic symbols as those of the coat of arms: the heraldic cross gules against a white background and a quartered field with four floral emblems. The flag is twice as broad as it is long.
Official symbols of Montréal
The city adopted its official logo and visual identification program in 1981 and the mandate to create them was awarded to the graphic design firm Georges Huel et Associés Inc.
The logo was created to show the city’s dynamism and to promote communication with Montréalers as well as its image on the national and international scenes.
The emblem, which takes its inspiration from the city’s coat of arms, is a minimalist logo that is shaped like a flower, in which each petal forms the letters V and M, the initials for “Ville de Montréal.” The intersecting lines at the centre of the logo symbolize the city’s vocation as a crossroads of communication and civilization.
The four heart-shaped petals signify the deep attachment Montréalers have to their city. An undulating line encircles the whole, representing the island, while the intertwining of plant and aquatic symbolism expresses the wealth of Montréal’s natural environment and the care Montréalers take to preserve it.
At its June 17, 2003 meeting, city council approved a recommendation to give Montréal a new visual identity. The new signature will update the current logo (rosette), created by the graphic design firm Georges Huel et Associés Inc. in 1981. Taking advantage of the notoriety of the rosette, the new version will use the word “Montréal” rather than “Ville de Montréal.”
The rosette will be maintained and placed to the right of the word “Montréal,” following the same design scheme as the government logos of Québec and Canada, whose names appear alone (without the word government) with a visual element placed to the right.