Sunday, July 21, 2024

Governor General Visits Meaford, Presents New Coat of Arms That Symbolize Unity of Amalgamated Municipality

Stephen Vance, Staff

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Meaford residents lined Sykes Street in front of Meaford Hall on Friday, May 20 to catch a glimpse of Canada’s Governor General, David Johnston, who was visiting the municipality to present its new coat of arms and chain of office.

Once he arrived, the Governor General conducted an inspection of the ceremonial guard on Sykes Street, before being escorted into Meaford Hall for the presentation.

gg006270Meaford Mayor Barb Clumpus welcomed the Governor General, telling the full house that it was a remarkable day for Meaford.

“We have greeted many distinguished visitors to our municipality in the past, but this is the first time ever that we have had the honour and the privilege of hosting the Governor General of Canada,” noted Clumpus during her introduction.

To commemorate the event, Meaford council voted earlier this month to rename the park area beside the Coast Guard station on Fuller Street David Johnston Park after the Governor General.

Prior to revealing the new coat of arms and chain of office, the Governor General noted that he was particularly impressed with the motto included in the design.

“Perhaps the most meaningful component is your motto: Our Heritage, Our Future,” suggested Johnston. “This is such a wonderful sentiment because it is so true. To look ahead, we must never forget where we came from. In the case of Meaford, history reminds us of a superb example of coming together, in the same spirit with which this country was forged.”

Johnston said that Meaford’s new coat of arms reflects the notion of coming together.

“The Town of Meaford, the Township of Sydenham and the Township of St. Vincent came together – their people came together – to pool resources and to create a stronger community. It’s a history that you haven’t forgotten. In fact, you celebrate that history, which is what this coat of arms does so well,” Johnston said.

Councillor Tony Bell brought the idea for a new coat of arms to council shortly after the October 2014 municipal election, when he asked if the mayoral chain of office could be revised to include symbols that would represent all three of the former townships which were amalgamated in 2001. At their March 9, 2015 meeting, council approved a plan to create an official Coat of Arms.

In the spirit of unity, the new Chain of Office unveiled at the ceremony includes the logos of the municipality and Grey County, the coat of arms of Ontario and Canada, maple leaves and trilliums representing the nation and the province, as well as 24 name plates with the names of the hamlets, settlement areas, and historic places that compose the amalgamated Municipality of Meaford. The new chain of office was presented to Mayor Clumpus by the first mayor of the amalgamated municipality, Gerald Shortt. The old chain of office will be housed at the Meaford Museum.

The Coat of Arms was prepared by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which is headed by the Governor General, and attempts to bring together representative imagery relating to all areas of the municipality. It includes a shield divided into three sections with a blue background, and two white schooners representing ship building and recreational boating. Also included in the design for the coat of arms are images of apples, a wind-swept pine tree, two work horses, trillium flowers, and a wheat garb. It will be exclusively used for ceremonial and protocol purposes.

The Chain of Office is the official insignia of the Corporation of the Municipality of Meaford and worn by the mayor during council meetings.

Meaford’s 2015 budget included $6,000 for this project. The funds were carried over to 2016 to complete the project and to also undertake the creation of a new Chain of Office.

The following is a full description of the armorial bearings included in Meaford’s new Coat of Arms:

Arms:

The shield is divided by an angled line pointing to the top centre. The top section is blue and on it are two schooners in white. The bottom section is white and on it are three apples native to the area, the Northern Spy, McIntosh and Honey Crisp varieties.

The division of the shield alludes to the shape of the Municipality of Meaford (white) with Georgian Bay (blue) to its north. The schooners refer to shipbuilding and recreational boating.

The schooners represent east and west coming together under one municipality. The apples refer to the local apple growing industry, to the municipality’s emblem, and represent the past, present and future. They also refer to the three founders, the Township of St. Vincent, the Township of Sydenham, and the Town of Meaford.

Crest:

A green pine tree set on a base set with trillium flowers and staghorn sumac represented in their natural colours. This is set on a wreath of twisted cloth in white and blue, which may in turn be placed on a helmet draped in cloth mantling in blue lined with white.

The pine tree represents the municipality’s natural setting, and alludes to the trees painted by such artists as Tom Thomson and Fred Haines. The staghorn sumac represents local flora. The trillium flower indicates that the municipality is located in Ontario.

Supporters:

Two work horses, Percherons, coloured and dappled light grey with their tails and manes white, and with blue wings, their inner hind hooves each resting on a garb of wheat with a base of ferns. Around their necks are branches of maple in green.

The work horses, Percherons, evoke the agricultural identity of the municipality. Their wings allude to the crest and one of the supporters of the arms of the Earl of St. Vincent, namely Pegasus, a winged horse of Greek mythology. The municipality was named after Lord St. Vincent’s home in England, Meaford Hall, and the former Town of Meaford used his arms as its emblem. The garb of wheat is taken from the emblem of the Township of Sydenham, and the maple branches around the horses’ necks from that of the Township of St. Vincent. Fern is prevalent around trails and natural settings.

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