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British Columbia Coat of Arms
The Shield of the Province of British Columbia was originally granted by King Edward VII on 31 March 1906; the remaining elements of the Coat of Arms were subsequently granted in person by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on October 15, 1987. It consists of several elements that hold historical, geographical and cultural significance for British Columbia.

The Union Jack on the shield symbolizes our colonial origins. Our geographic location between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains is represented by the wavy blue and silver bars and the setting sun. The supporters, the stag and the ram, represent the former colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

The Royal Crest (the crowned lion standing on the crown), wears a collar of dogwood flowers, and sits atop the golden helmet of sovereignty. Traditional heraldic elements of a wreath and mantling represent Canada's national colours. The golden helmet of sovereignty is placed between the shield and the crest to mark B.C.'s co-sovereign status in Confederation. Our provincial flower, the dogwood, appears a second time entwining the provincial motto.

Flag of British Columbia
Adopted in 1960, the flag of British Columbia duplicates the design of the Shield of Arms of the province. The proportion of the BC flag is five units by length and three units by width.

Provincial Motto
"Splendor Sine Occasu" ("Splendour Without Diminishment")

Provincial Bird
Photo by  Phil & Loretta HermannThe Steller's Jay (Cyanacitta Stelleri) became the Province's official bird on December 17, 1987. This saucy and intelligent bird appears suddenly as a flash of deep blue. When he settles on a branch, you can see that his head and crest are blackish, while his wings, tails and stomach are blue. The raucous call of the Steller's Jay can be heard west of the Rocky Mountains, nesting in coniferous forested regions at mid-to-high elevations.

The Steller's Jay is a member of the same family as crows, ravens and other jay species. It is an omnivore with a diet of insects and carrion as well as plants. This lively, smart and cheeky bird was voted most popular bird by the people of British Columbia.
Photo: Phil & Loretta Hermann

Provincial Mammal
The Spirit Bear (also known as the Kermode Bear, Ursus americanus kermodei) is the provincial mammal, added to the list of B.C.'s official symbols in April 2006. The greatest concentration of Spirit Bears can be found on the Central Coast and North Coast of British Columbia. The Spirit Bear is not albino, but rather it is a black bear that has white fur due to a rare genetic trait.

Provincial Flower
The Pacific Dogwood (Cornus Nauttallii) was adopted as British Columbia's floral emblem in 1956. It is a small tree that grows 6 to 8 metres (20 to 30 feet) in height. Leaves are dark green on the upper side, lighter on the underside and the blooms appear from April to June and sometimes again in the fall. 30-40 small cream to greenish flowers are arranged in clusters and are surrounded by four to six large pointed, petal-like bracts. In autumn, the Dogwood is conspicuous for its clusters of bright red or orange berries.

The wood is heavy, exceedingly hard, strong, close-grained and is used occasionally for cabinet making and the handles of tools. Early legend portrays the Dogwood as being the wood of the Cross-of Calvary; the flower petals from the Cross, the centre the Crown of Thorns and the red tips of the petals the Blood of Christ. Pacific Dogwood is on the list of British Columbia plants protected by law and it is a punishable offense to pick or destroy.

Provincial Gemstone
Jade became the official mineral emblem of the province in 1968. Consisting mostly of nephrite, BC jade is prized by carvers of fine jewellery and sculptures at home and particularly in the Orient. It is mined in many parts of British Columbia.

Provincial Tartan
The Provincial Tartan, in use since 1966 and registered with the Court of the Lord Lion, Edinburgh, Scotland, was officially adopted by statute in 1974. Represented in the design are the blue of the Pacific Ocean, the green of the forests, the red of the Maple Leaf (Canada's national symbol), the white of the Dogwood and the gold of the crown and sun in the provincial Arms.

Provincial Tree
The Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata Donn) was adopted as the official tree of the Province on February 18, 1988. Historically, the tree has played a key role in the lives of West Coast Natives, and continues to be a valuable resource for the Province.

Flag of Canada
The search for a new Canadian Flag started in 1925 and ended when a Senate and House of Commons Committee recommended a single stylized maple leaf design, which was approved by resolution of the House of Commons on December 15, 1964, followed by the Senate on December 17, 1964, and proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, to take effect on February 15, 1965.

The National Flag of Canada came into being almost 100 years after the Dominion was created in 1867. The maple leaf flag was raised for the first time at noon, February 15, 1965 during special ceremonies on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

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