Oshawa’s Coat of Arms, Explained

Are questions about Oshawa’s Coat of Arms keeping you up at night?  We’re here to help.

What does it all mean, anyway?  Let’s start at the top.

ThOshawa Creste Beaver:  The logic behind this feature isn’t tough to deduce.  The beaver symbolizes Canada, but what’s unusual about this image is that it was omitted from the original design that was formally adopted in 1962, appearing only in 1967.

The Red Bit:   The wavy back lines mean that Oshawa is situated on water. The silver symbols inside the red area are a ship, which represents the Oshawa Harbour, a winged wheel, which indicates land transportation, and a bird, which symbolizes the Oshawa Executive Airport.

But why do the symbols look so old fashioned?  That’s a heraldry rule. Heraldry is the system by which coats of arms and other armorial bearings are devised, described, and regulated.  So the ship looks like one that Christopher Columbus would have sailed in search of the New World because the image will not become obsolete like a drawing of a freighter or speedboat would. The same logic applies to the use of an eagle to represent the Oshawa Airport:  The likeness of a modern plane will become outdated, while the image of a bird representing flight is timeless.

The Top and Bottom:  Just below the beaver are three gears, which represent co-operation and working together.  And, not surprisingly, the three green maple leaves at the bottom symbolize Canada and Ontario.

The Motto:  The reasoning behind “Labour and Prosper” is a bit more mysterious, and an explanation about the motto isn’t included in the City of Oshawa Corporate Visual Identity Manual.  Is it a nod to Oshawa’s manufacturing past?  An acknowledgement of how the City was built by hardworking, industrious people? What do you think?  

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