Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Tabard of the Chief Herald of Canada Unveiled

OTTAWA, May 17, 2012 - The first-ever Canadian tabard, the traditional garment of a herald, was officially unveiled today at the opening of the exhibit entitled "From Far and Wide - Honouring Great Canadians" located at 90 Wellington Street, Ottawa across from Parliament Hill. The opening was graced by His Excellency, The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. His speech highlighted the work of many Canadians who have also been recognised and honoured by the Canadian Honours System. He also mentioned the unveiling of the newly-designed tabard, and the fact that the tabard was funded by the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. The opening was attended by approximately 200 people, many of whom have been formally honoured by the Canadian Honours System, including the Order of Canada.
The new tabard has a basic background of royal blue, the colour emblematic of the Governor General of Canada, and depicts a unique collection of Canadian symbols of heritage and honour. The tabard consists of 4 sections, the front, the rear and the sleeves. The sections collectively weigh approximately 2 kg.
The body of the tabard comprises of two principal design elements. The raven-bears on the central front and central rear are inspired by the supporters of the arms of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. These honour the emblematic traditions of the First peoples, designed by Maynard Johnny Jr. of the Coast Salish and Kwakwkw'wakw nations from British Columbia. The rest of the body of the tabard is embroidered with stripes of alternating maple leaves, the quintessential national emblem of Canada.
The most unusual characteristic of the tabard is that its body is devoid of the more traditional placement of the arms of the sovereign, which are embroidered instead on the tabard's removable sleeves. The arms are partitioned horizontally into equal third's. The result is a stunning and creative expression of Canadian heraldry, creating a most unique tabard, which will surely differentiate the Chief Herald of Canada from other heralds wearing more traditional tabards. The photograph below is a group shot of His Excellency (second from left), along with the Society's President, David M. Cvet (front left) and the Chief Herald of Canada, Dr. Clair Boudreau (front right). The other members of the Society appear behind the tabard, including (L-R): Patrick Crocco, Robb Watt, Peter Hannen, David Rumball, Edward "Ted" McNabb, Grete Hale, Allan Bird, Auguste Vachon, Vicken Koundakjian and Roger Lindsey.
The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada wishes to congratulate the Canadian Heraldic Authority and in particular the Chief Herald of Canada and Fraser Herald, Cathy Bursey-Sabourin (both Fellows of the Society) for their inordinate time, energy, creativity and patience, resulting in an extraordinarily creative representation of Canadian heraldry.

Governor's General Media Site: Opening of the Exhibit "From Far and Wide - Honouring Great Canadians"


Michael Y. Medvedev said...

One of the great heraldic sensations of the new century. It is wittily clever in many aspects, full of regal splendour and outstandingly beautiful.
I would probably dare to say that the composition of the embroidered emblems (as to their hierarchy) is a bit debatable; but the counter-arguments "it's just Az plain" and "Why dammit not" are obvious and convincing.
So, my cordial congratulations to the whole nation of Canada, to the Heraldic Authority, and to all those who care.

Anonymous said...

It's cute. But blue isn't one of Canada's national colours.

I hope the next version of this garment will be 'coloured in' as it should be.

Anonymous said...

I think the black and blue "ink" colours are particularly appropriate for the tabard. It lets the sybolism speak rather than flashes of colour yelling the story of the person wearing this garment. Good show.

John Jones said...

Cute probably describes it.
Heraldry is about colour. A pity that it has no colour, since Canadian heraldry is so rich in colour

Anonymous said...

The tabard is certainly distinctive but I don't understand why the usual practice of depicting the Royal Arms was not followed. The arms of Canada are of exceptional beauty and would look magnificent on a tabard. I suspect Canada is now stuck with this blue tabard but it is to be hopped that the sleeve panels depicting the Royal Arms may be remade in full colour. Colour is a vital part of heraldry it is a shame not to use it.

Custom Lapel Pins said...

The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada wishes to congratulate the Canadian Heraldic Authority and in particular the Chief Herald of Canada and Fraser Herald

Keir said...

"The most unusual characteristic of the tabard is that its body is devoid of the more traditional placement of the arms of the sovereign."
As we see with the squashing of the arms in the 'uglification' of the current Canadian coat of arms, the removal of any image of The Queen at the Governor General's residence in the Citadel, being told when I visited that it was to cause no offence to certain people, or the omission of any British symbols on the Olympic Torch when Vancouver last hosted the Winter Games, this is another example of the airbrushing of the Mother Country to play up every other culture.

Arghun said...

Pretty garment, bad heraldry. NOT what the Chief Herald should be wearing.

You wear the arms of your employer, which in Canada's case includes Her Majesty.

Heraldry is about identification. This is about as identifiable as an ink blot.

Finally if you want it to include the Raven Bears and such, make all 4 panels the entire Achievement of Canada.