Back to HomeFeature Article - May 3, 2012

South Frontenac to get a coat of arms

by Jeff Green

It’s been quietly in the works for almost a year, and now it’s almost official. South Frontenac Township will be joining the world of heraldry.

While all the local municipalities have developed township logos over the years, South Frontenac is the first to have an official coat of arms, and a flag is soon to follow.

It was Councilor Mark Tinlin who brought the idea of a distinctive township coat of arms to council.

"I received a letter from Bruce Patterson, who is the Deputy Chief Herald of Canada, congratulating me on winning the election and in that letter he drew my attention to the fact that South Frontenac does not have a coat of arms. As far as I know, neither do any of the other amalgamated townships in the region, but there are hundreds of municipalities, colleges and universities, even families and individuals that have their own coats of arms. So I brought the idea to Council, and a year or so later, here we are,” said Mark Tinlin.

There are four quilted banners in the council chambers that were inherited from Storrington, Loughborough, Portland, and Bedford, the four original townships that became South Frontenac at the beginning of 1998, almost 15 years ago, and some of the imagery from those banners has been incorporated into the proposed coat of arms

In order to ensure that the township’s coat of arms would make use of proper heraldic standards, the township has been working with Bruce Patterson to prepare what are called “armorial bearings” for council’s consideration.

The proposed bearings were shown in a preliminary sketch, (reproduced below) which Mr. Paterson said should not be taken as a final proposal by any means as it is only meant to show council where the various elements of the coat of arms will be located.

At the top of the sketch there is a loon, “A symbol of the township’s many lakes,” according to Mr. Patterson. The Loon is perched on a “coronet, a symbol of municipal authority, and there are three griffin’s claws on the coronet. These claws “are the arms of the Comte de Frontenac, after whom the township…is named. Frontenac was the Governor of New France from 1672-1682, and 1689-1698, and established a fort in what is now Kingston.”

The two stags on the left and right sides are prominent features. As a local animal, “they represent the forests of the township, a reminder of the importance of the forestry industry in earlier times, as well as recreational hunting. A stag’s head also appears on the arms of Lord Sydenham, Governor General of Canada between 1839-1841.”

A milk canister, which is reproduced on a crest on the stag on the left, represents the dairy industry, and a fish with a hook on the right hand stag represents recreational fishing.

In the centre, the shield features “four white bulrushes (cattails) arranged as a cross, their heads in the centre.”

According to Bruce Patterson, the bulrushes are features of the many lakes of the township, and “allude to the natural setting for the notable tourism and recreation part of the local economy, at the same time referring to the four predecessor municipalities.”

The rocky base represents the Frontenac axis of the Canadian Shield. Trillium flowers are the floral emblem of Ontario, and the “waves at the bottom are another indication of the many lakes of the township.” wrote Bruce Patterson.

The proposed flag is rectangular and features a central yellow square on which is the shield from the arms, flanked by two blue panels on each side.

While members of Council were generally receptive of the proposed coat of arms, they did request that the three Griffin’s feet be reduced to two, and that the township's Aboriginal heritage be recognised through the use of four colors that represent the north, east, west, and south.

“The suggestions have gone back to be looked at, and should be back at Council within two to four weeks,” said Tinlin.

Tinlin hopes that the official coat of arms, which will be hand drawn by people from Heraldry Canada, will be adopted in the early to mid-fall.

“This should be something that brings the community together,” he said, “an exercise in finding a common identity.”