Bank of Montreal Coat of Arms

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The official armorial bearing of the bank was granted by the College of Arms on April 21, 1934, with the two First Nations figures standing in defense of the shield.

 

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The smaller beaver within the shield replaced the fleur-de-lys from the original, while the symbols of the bank’s British heritage – the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland and the shamrock of Ireland – remained.

It’s one of the most iconic of its kind in Canada. But the symbol we know today isn’t the bank’s original coat of arms.

The original wasn’t registered with the College of Arms, and therefore had no official standing. In the 1930s, image-conscious bank leaders pushed to change that, feeling it was important for Bank of Montreal to “get it right”.

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The beaver sitting directly on the shield also broke the rules. This was corrected in the revised version in which the beaver and the shield are separated by a log. According to the rules of heraldry set out by the College of Arms, the two reclining First Nations figures in the original coat of arms were a problem. Supporting figures always stand.

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Many bank properties, including this 1837 penny, featured the coat of arms.


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