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Sault Ste. Marie coat of arms artwork unveiled (2 photos)

City Council has approved preliminary artwork for an official, accredited municipal coat of arms for the City of Sault Ste. Marie (pictured).
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City Council has approved preliminary artwork for an official, accredited municipal coat of arms for the City of Sault Ste. Marie (pictured).

The shield featured on the City’s coat of arms will also form part of the coat of arms for the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service, topped by the royal crown, surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves, and the provincial flower at the bottom.

What may be surprising to some is that the familiar City crest, which has been used since about 1912 (when Sault Ste. Marie was incorporated as a city), is not an official coat of arms.

The artwork for official coats of arms must conform to guidelines set out by the Canadian Heraldic Authority and be ultimately approved by the Governor General.

Sault Ste. Marie City Clerk Malcolm White told that some modifications to the Coat of Arms artwork may be required by the Heraldic Authority, but that the preliminary artwork approved by Council contains all of the required elements.

The artwork was done by local artist Eva Pilar-Cass, contracted by the Heraldic Authority, at a cost of $595.

On official coats of arms for municipalities, the royal crown is not displayed (it does, however, appear on Police coats of arms), and animals (not human figures) are recommended on both sides of the shield.

Topped by the Clergue Block House (acknowledging the Sault’s industrial roots), the blue and gold shield contains a whitefish (common to the Sault rapids), two white chevrons and a white lily flower (a reference to St. Mary).

The shield is supported by two Eastern wolves (timber wolves), each holding the shaft of a hand crucible, to represent tools used by steelworkers.

Autumn leaves and the waves from the rapids are at the bottom, along with the Ojibway phrase “Ojibwe Gchi Gami Odena” (“Settlement near the Ojibwe’s big lake”).

The City has discussed an official coat of arms for Sault Ste. Marie on and off throughout the years, but a Coat of Arms committee was formed in 2012, out of an urge by municipal officials to create something new and memorable in light of the community’s Celebrate 100! festivities.

The committee includes City Clerk Malcolm White, Deputy City Clerk Rachel Tyczinski, Celebrate 100! Project Coordinator Donna Irving, Sault Ste. Marie Museum Director and Curator Kim Forbes, City Councillors Susan Myers and Terry Sheehan, and City Police Service Sergeant Ray Magnan.

Council, in July of 2013, approved recommended elements to be included in the coat of arms.

It is anticipated the entire coat of arms will be used on official City documents, while only the shield portion will be used for such things as decals on City vehicles.

Once officially approved, electronic images on City letterhead can be easily changed to show the new coat of arms, and the image will be phased in gradually as new signage is required on, for example, City vehicles and buildings.

City Clerk Malcolm White, speaking to last summer, said he estimated the coat of arms project, with the artist’s fee included, would cost the City between $5,000 to $7,500 to implement.