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Saint John, New Brunswick (Canada)

Last modified: 2012-08-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: canada | saint john | new brunswick |
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[Saint John, New Brunswick] image by Rob Raeside

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Description of the flag


Saint John's Flag

Did you know that Saint John does not have an official flag?

In 1985 a citizen of Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. mailed a letter to Saint John City Council requesting to purchase a 3 foot by 6 foot City flag. A councilor asked if, following Council's previous discussion regarding a flag for the City, a further review has resulted in the selection of colours which can be considered to be the proper colours for the City's flag. A council member replied that the City has approximately two dozen flags in stock which have colours thereon and that it is the intent to reorder flags in the same colours as those contained on the crests which appear on the Police cars. The Mayor asked that the City Manager familiarize Council with these colours in Committee of the whole later this date. The councilor then noted that what the City refers to as its Coat of Arms or Crest is basically the design of the City Seal and that no official colours have been established. The Mayor advised that she will be meeting with The Lieutenant Governor of the Province in the very near future at which time she will discuss both the City crest and flag to determine if they are, in fact, proper, and requested Council to defer this Council this matter until after such meeting. The Mayor suggested that, if Council approves, one of the current flags will be forwarded with an explanation that Council is considering another flag.

Researched by: Dov Gutterman, 27 June 2000


Saint John was the first incorporated city in Canada. The 1785 Charter incorporating Saint John made provisions for a seal:

"...and they and their successors forever shall have one common seal to serve for the ensealing of all and sungular their grants, deeds, conveyances, contracts, bonds, articles of agreements, assignments, powers and warrants of attorney, and all and singular their affairs and things touching or concerning the said Corporation , and the same seal they shall have power from time to time, as they shall think proper, to break, change, alter and new make so as that at the said time there doth not exist any more than one common seal for the purposes aforesaid."

At Council's second meeting, on May 32, 1785, Mayor Gabriel Ludlow was "requested to report at the next meeting a proper device and inscription for the City Seal." Three days later, Mayor Ludlow presented a design and inscription for the seal.

One year later, on July 1, 1786, the Mayor presented "a seal for the Common Council of the said City," designed by Ward Chipman, Saint John's first recorder. It was at a cost of 26 Pounds and 16 Shillings to the city, and that seal has been serving Saint John as the official corporate seal for 200 years.

And from

St. Edwards Crown: The crown surmounting the crest is emblematic of the continued loyalty to the monarchy, exhibited by the exile of the United Empire Loyalists in 1783 and the subsequent granting of a Royal Charter to the city. The crown is recognized in the field of heraldry as St. Edwards Crown and is proper to the time it was used in the design of the official seal of Saint John.

Dexter Supporter: Saint John's Corporate Seal originally had an "Elk" as its supporters due to the abundance of elk in this region. Over time the elk in this region have become extinct and our seal has changed accordingly. We have seen the "Deer" make a brief appearance and today the "Moose" has emerged as the predominant figure on our seal.

Dexter Chief: Fishing was a major export in Saint John - dried and salted fish were sent regularly to the West Indies. The coopering of barrels for local use and the export of staves, heads and hoops was also an active industry. The Royal Charter by which Saint John was incorporated, was very explicit as to the control of the fisheries and the quality inspection for coopers.

Dexter Base: Saint John was well known as a shipping port and a shipbuilding center. During the mid-nineteenth century Saint John was the fourth largest port of registry in the British Empire.

Sinister Chief: This is emblematic of the large forests which provided New Brunswick with a resource that even today provides a major part of our economic base.

Sinister Base: Beaver pelts were a very important trading item at the original founding of the city and many years previously. The beavers were also thought of as allegorical figures to describe the industry and enterprise of the early settlers.

Motto Scroll: O Fortunati Quorum Jam Moenia Surgunt, which has been translated two ways: 1) O Fortunate Ones Whose Walls Are Now Rising. 2) O Happy They, Whose Promised Walls Already Rise.

The flag is the coat of arms on a white field.
Rob Raeside, 19 February 2005


[Saint John, variant 1] image by Luc Baronian

I noticed recently that there are actually 2 or 3 variants flying in the city.

Besides the image posted above by Rob Raeside, with St. Edward's Crown, a fancy shield and a blue scroll with yellow contour and lettering, there is another one with a crown somewhere between St Edward's and a Tudor Crown (experts help me out), an English-style shield and a blue scroll with black lettering and contour. See attached.

There is yet a third rendition, nearly identical to the one posted by Rob, but where the scroll is blue with black lettering and contour. I wasn't able to get a good photo, but if I do eventually, I'll make a GIF of that one too.
Luc Baronian, 1 June 2005


[Saint John, variant 3] image by Luc Baronian

This is a photo of the third variant of the Saint John city flag, or fourth if you count the table version. The crown, not very visible on this photo, was clearly a St. Edward's crown.
Luc Baronian, 7 June 2005

Table flag

[Saint John, table flag] image by Luc Baronian

the table flag version of the Saint John flag has red lettering reading SAINT JOHN (bottom left of the arms) and NEW BRUNSWICK (bottom right of the arms). The table flags I've seen use the same rendition of the coat of arms as on the flag posted by Rob Raeside.
Luc Baronian, 2 June 2005