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Publications - Books

  Title: "The Canadian Heraldic Dictionary"
Author: Dr. Kevin Greaves & Donald S. Williamson
Publisher: The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, November 2008

The need for some sort of dictionary of heraldic terms used in the blazonry of arms granted in Canada became evident during the setting of examinations for the RHSC Heraldry Proficiency Program. A small handout listing the terms of blazon for a number of specifically Canadian charges had been provided, based mainly on an article by Bruce Patterson. However, on studying the blazons of Canadian-granted arms listed in the Public Register, it became clear that there were quite a number of terms which were not included in that handout. Some of these were uniquely Canadian designations, created to denote uniquely Canadian charges; some were innovative descriptive terms coined to depict innovative features of CHA grants; and some, while derived from British usage, had for some reason been omitted from the standard heraldic dictionaries. All, however, were used in the blazons of Canadian grants. It seemed therefore worthwhile to list and define these terms along with illustrations, so that a student, given a depiction, would be able to provide a correct blazon.

Click on the image depicting the cover of the dictionary to access the online dictionary.

  Price: NA

Available online as a reference for the RHSC Heraldry Proficiency Program

  Title: "A Guide to Blazonry"
Author: Dr. Kevin Greaves
Publisher: The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, September 2014

Blazon is the language of heraldry. Its intent is to provide a description in words of a coat of arms so that an experienced heraldic artist can produce an accurate picture of the arms. Although it may be archaic in form, it can describe an achievement much more precisely than can ordinary language. The objective of the heraldic blazon is to be clear and concise. While there may be more than one set of words available to create a proper blazon, an heraldic artist should be able to draw the achievement from the words of the blazon, and the guidance of the artist should be the primary intent in all cases. While a concise, neatly worded blazon can be a source of satisfaction, clever wording should never replace clarity of meaning.

This handbook is intended to provide the heraldic enthusiast with a single correct way to blazon a given achievement, not two or three alternatives, no matter how correct. It is not intended as a guide to heraldic design. Also, it is assumed that the student has done the necessary homework on shields, ordinaries, charges, etc, and that what is required here is a guide to describing them in proper form and sequence.

  Price: $12.95 CAD
Non-members (plus postage)

Available online as a reference for the RHSC Heraldry Proficiency Program

  Title: "A Canadian Heraldic Primer", 2nd Edition
Author: Dr. Kevin Greaves
Publisher: The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, 2014

This primer dispels, once and for all, the myth that coats of arms are boring, snobbish, medieval holdovers that have no relevance today.

Using cartoons, humour, and a little irreverence (in which is concealed a surprising amount of information), Kevin Greaves explains the history behind the heraldry's unique conventions and language, and explores its creative possibilities. He shows heraldry as part of the fabric of Canada's past, present and future, and illustrates how this lively art has become even livelier since Canada became master of its own heraldic system in 1988.
(ISBN: 0-96930-634-2)

  Price: $14.95
Non-members (plus postage)

1-2 weeks

Softcover - 56 pages, B&W & colour illustrations, Dimensions: 15 x 22.75 x 0.5cm

  Title: "Canadian Heraldry"
Editor: Lt.Cdr. Alan B. Beddoe, FHSC, Revised by Col. Strome Galloway, FRHSC
Publisher: Mika Publishing Company, Belleville ON, 1981

Beddoe's Canadian Heraldry describes the history of heraldry in Canada and its development from French and British traditions. Many colour plates and black and white images provide examples of arms in use in Canada (civic, commercial, and personal). The book is available in public libraries or through the inter-library loan system.
(ISBN: 0-919303-56-0)

The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada is making available to its members and to individuals who are taking the Heraldry Proficiency Examination, the opportunity to purchase a CD containing a digital copy of Beddoe's book. The pricing is as follows:

  • For persons signed up for the course - $25 (Cdn).
  • For Society members not signed up for a course - $35 (Cdn).
  • For Non-members not signed up for a course - $45 (Cdn).
To purchase the CD, either write directly to: The Royal Heraldlry Society of Canada, Beddoe CD-ROM, P.O. Box 8128, Terminal T, Ottawa, ON K1G 3H9, Canada, enclosing a check for the applicable amount, made out to the RHSC (indicate on the cheque that it is for the Beddoe CD) - Note: Please allow up to 4 weeks for cheque handling time.: OR purchase online using PayPal by clicking on the CD image on the right.

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You may be able to find a copy through online books websites such as

Hardcover - 224 pages, B&W & colour illustrations