The City's Emblems

Coat of Arms


In 1950, it was decided by Mayor Earle C. Westwood and his Council, that an application should be made to the College of Arms in England for the official registration of Arms for Nanaimo to coincide with Nanaimo's celebration of 100 years of development and of 75 years as an incorporated City. A proposed design and blazon were submitted to the College of Arms for tentative approval. The suggestions made by the Sumerset Herald of Arms to alter the direction of the pattern of the fourth quarter and to conventionalize the representation of the sea in the first quarter were adopted.

A formal application was then made. The fee for registration at that time was approximately $325.00. The official authorization of the Arms was made on 1951-SEP-23 and the documents were completed and dated on 1951-SEP-28.

Nanaimo's origins lie in its maritime location, the early administration of the Hudson's Bay Company and the development of the coal industry. These elements, together with the representation of the Hudson's Bay Company Bastion that was completed in 1853, form the main features of the Arms designed for the City.

Although the term "Coat-of-Arms" is in general use, the correct term for the whole emblazonment of shield, crest and wreath, helmet and mantling, and motto is an "Achievement". The term Coat-of-Arms was derived from the textile garment or surcoat over armour which bore in embroidery a duplication of the design on the shield.

In the design of a shield under the rules of heraldry, colours are not to be superimposed on colour, nor metals on metal. Silver can be represented by white, however. The principal colour of the Arms of Nanaimo is red taken from the red cross on a silver field on the arms of the Hudson's Bay Company. On the first quarter of the shield is a representation of a barque to commemorate the arrival of Nanaimo's early settlers from England after a sea voyage of five months in this type of vessel. On the fourth quarter is a pattern of "black diamonds" representing Nanaimo coal mining industry, now discontinued but the original reason for Nanaimo's existence. The open second and third quarters indicate the unfulfilled future.

City Logo


The City of Nanaimo is quickly becoming one of Canada's most dynamic and diverse communities. Centrally located on Vancouver Island and nestled between mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Nanaimo's natural beauty is an ideal location for both residents and businesses alike.

The City's proud history and rich resource based heritage form the foundation upon which this great city is built. Today, with its modern facilities and natural setting, the City of Nanaimo offers its citizens and visitors a healthy, diverse and active lifestyle.

The City of Nanaimo logo is inspired by our dynamic community. Nanaimo continues to grow and prosper and has become the regional service center for both the central and northern regions of Vancouver Island. The community enjoys a skilled and educated labour force, an impressive infrastructure network and many recreational and cultural amenities.

To better reflect its ties to the ocean and progressive nature, the City of Nanaimo has officially embraced the new wave logo as its corporate identity. The ocean and the city's magnificent harbour are the focal points of the community. The waves on the logo represent the City's enormous energy and determination to continuously move forward. The logo is our identity locally, nationally and internationally.

Community Logo


In addition to the City Logo, Nanaimo has an official Community Logo reflecting the 'wave' identity and representing the same vision described above. The City Logo and Community Logo are trademarked, with the Community Logo available for local organizations wishing to include the 'wave' identity.

There is an application form available for community organizations wishing to use either logo, allowing us to keep track of how the logo is used and to grant permission under the trademark.

Declaration of Nanaimo as "The Harbour City"

On May 1st, 1986 during their official visit to Canada, Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Nanaimo, and signed a declaration designating Nanaimo as "The Harbour City." The certificate is hand illuminated and painted by Eve Cox and hangs in City Hall.

Nanaimo Flag


Official Flower


Hosackia pinnata (previously Lotus pinnatus, and also known as the Bog bird's-foot trefoil) was adopted by City Council as Nanaimo's floral emblem in 2010. It is a yellow and cream pea-like flowering perennial herb that grows from a thick taproot and short rhizome (underground stem). The sprawling to upright stem is hollow and it grows 15-60 cm long.

Bog bird's-foot trefoil grows in open, seasonally wet meadows, along the margins of creeks, or in seepages where underground water comes to the surface. The species appears to require contact with cool, seeping water during the growing and blooming period. It grows in sites with shallow (< 15 cm) soils, over gently sloping sandstone or conglomerate bedrock.

The Government of Canada's Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife (COSEWIC) reports there are five known sites for this rare flower in Canada - all near Nanaimo. Three of these sites are on Harewood Plains, one on Gabriola Island and one on Woodley Range near Ladysmith. Although the plant is red-listed in BC, it is not in danger globally.

Last updated: October 20, 2022

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