A coat of arms

Did you know? The art of heraldry is ancient. Initially, in the 12th century, it had a practical application as a form of individual identification. It has evolved as a highly decorative and sophisticated art form.

The Foundation’s official Coat of Arms was unveiled by Lieutenant Governor Peter Liba at a ceremony in April 2000. It was a gift of Dr. Robert Thorlakson and Deborah Thorlakson. Dr. Thorlakson researched the development of the coat of arms and noted heraldic artist Gordon Macpherson of Burlington, Ont. Guided its final form.

Some generalizations can be made about the creation of a coat of arms. It should be simple, bold, and well balanced. The basic rule is that simple heraldry is good heraldry.

Here’s information about The Foundation’s Coat of Arms:

The shield

A field of green has been taken from the lower portion of the Shield of the City of Winnipeg and 13 Bezants, gold coins, represent the 13 municipalities that make up the City of Winnipeg.

The crest

A coronet with sheaves of wheat represents Winnipeg’s agricultural heritage and role as a grain trading centre. From the centre of the coronet a lion holds a golden Bezant in each paw. As The Winnipeg Foundation is the first community foundation in Canada, the lion is symbolic.

The mantling

The mantling takes its colours from the Shield and is a tincture (colour) lined with a metal, green-lined gold.

The supporters

Two golden stags, of heraldic significance, appear with green antlers and hooves. On the shoulder of the dexter (viewer’s left) is an annulet, a circular form symbolizing the circle of philanthropy, the giving of gifts and the enduring state of The Foundation as a permanent endowment fund. On the shoulder of the sinister (viewer’s right) stag is a Red River ox cart wheel. This recognizes the great significance of the 40,000 Red River carts that helped open up the west in Winnipeg’s formative years.

The compartment

The Compartment is a wall of dressed limestone, our special and native stone, and is a play on the word “foundation.” This alludes to The Winnipeg Foundation’s fiscal solidity and security, and community standing.

The ribbon and motto

On a stylized ribbon the motto DONUM BENEFICIO MULTIS, A Gift To Benefit Many, appears in black lettering. This reflects the wide terms of reference of The Winnipeg Foundation’s grantmaking activities. This is further depicted by the lion in the crest with arms outstretched in an enfolding gesture and offering the golden Bezants to worthy citizens and organizations within Winnipeg.

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