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Canadian Heraldic Authority (CHA)

CHA Tabard Project

Canada's first tabard, the traditional garment of a herald, funded by the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada.

On May 4, 2009, Her Excellency the Governor General announced that a tabard, a traditional garment, would be created, to be worn on special occassions by the Chief Herald of Canada. This announcement is the direct result of a decision of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, made through the execution of its board of directors, to cover the costs related to the creation of the tabard, up to an agreed amount. The creation of a tabard for the Chief Herald is the fulfillment of a wish held by the officers of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, the members of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, and others in the heraldic community, ever since the creation of the CHA in 1988. Such a garment will add a sense of splendour and dignity to the official heraldic ceremonies, marking the importance of the Chief Herald's role in assigning and proclaiming heraldic emblems.

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.

May 17, 2012