Heraldry first appeard at the end of the XIth century and at the beginning of the XIIth. Because combatants were covered from head to toe, it was impossible to distinguish friend from foe, hence the adoption of simple symbols on shields. These soon became hereditary.
From actual shields, borne for defence purposes, these symbols were soon adopted on seals. Communities, either civic or religious, started using seals to authenticate documents towards the end of the XIIth century. They too made liberal use of heraldry which, from personal usage for identification purposes, became civic and religious symbols for the same purpose.
Heraldry, be it personal or corporate, has to this day no other purpose other than to identify. Thus, a municipal coat of arms, because it is unique and proper to one community, can be said to represent each individual in that community. It is literally, the symbol of municipal pride. It is with this in mind that the coat of arms of Shediac was designed.
Because heraldry is both a science and an art with strict rules and an arcane vocabulary, it is desirable to explain some of the terminology used in the official description of the arms, called the blazon:
Barry wavy; three ondulating bars horizontally on the shield
Chiel; the upper part of the shield
Bars gemelles; two small bars placed horizontally
Or; gold, represented by yellow
Proper; of natural colours
Armed; the claws of an animal when they are of a different colour
Langued; the colour of the tongue
Dexter; the right
Crest; what appears above the shield.
Barry wavy Argent and Azure a lobster Gules, on a chief Vert two bars gemelles Or, a seagull wings extended Argent Supporters: On a compartment Proper, two sea lions Or, armed and langued Gules, each holding in its dexter paw a rolled parchment Argent Crest: On a circlet Or; between two half stars and in the center, all Or, two ship's bows also Or, sails Argent, rigged Or.
Motto: IN UNUM AD SUMMUM can be translated to "TOGETHER TOWARD THE HEIGHTS"
A red lobster has been used for some time now on the Town's logo. It is retained in the coat of arms for the sake of continuity with a symbol that has come to be identified with Shediac, which boast that it is "THE LOBSTER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD"
Traditionally, in heraldry, the sea is represented by wavy bars. In the town's coat of arms, they have a double symbolism since they not only represent the town's geographic position on Shediac Bay but also the etymology of the name from the Micmacs; Shediac meaning "running far in", an allusion to its geography.
The upper part of the shield, called a chief, bears two small horizontal bars which symbolize the European and North American Railway, the first railroad in the Maritime Provinces, inaugurated in 1857, and Queen's Road, still in use today, one of New Brunswick's first public thoroughfares, opened in 1839.
Green, a colour associated with agriculture, recalls the fact that agriculture was once an important element in the economy of Shediac, particulary potato growing. There once was a large potato export industry based in Shediac.
The seagull is commonplace along any shore and thus a natural symbol to represent the maritime situation of Shediac. But its inclusion in the town's coat of arms has a double symbolism. In the first instance, the seagull represents the fact that Shediac is the premier summer resort of New Brunswick, a distinction it has held since the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The seagull's wings are extended to symbolize the brief but important role Shediac played in the aviation industry. It was at the Pointe-du-Chêne wharf that Pan American Airways established a seaplane base n 1937. It was from here that Canada's first airmail letter to Britain was sent in 1939.
Finally, the seagull recalls the landing in Shediac of General Italo Balbo's airfleet, in July of 1933. General Balbo, Italy's Minister of Aviation and his squadron were on their way from Rome to the World's fair in Chicago
The two creatures who support the shield are half lion, half fish. The lion symbolizes strength and is one of the earliest symbols used in heraldry. They are half fish to recall the importance of the fishing industry to the region's economy as well as the former shipbuilding industry
The parchments held aloft by the lions allude to three important literary figures who were citizens of Shediac; Senator Pascal Poirier (1852 - 1933), elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1899; Placide Gaudet (1850 - 1930), archivist, geneologist and historian; and Dr. John Clarence Webster (1863 - 1950), a noted historian, also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1924), who wrote a history of Shediac.
They also allude to the foundation in Shediac, in July 1867, by Israël J. D. Landry, of Le Moniteur Acadien, the first French-speaking newspaper in the Maritime Provinces.
The compartment under the shield is not merely a commodity for the sea lions to rest upon. It is in the shape of a marsh to recall one of the original names of the locality, "La Batture", which means in French "shore" but commonly said to mean "oyster bed", hence the grassy configuration of the compartment.
The coronet above the shield embodies two symbols, the star which is one of the principal Acadian symbols, and ships to recall not only the former shipbuilding activity in Shediac, as well as its maritime situation, but also the fact that Shediac is twinned to the French island of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, situated in the Golf of St. Lawrence. Two similar ship's bows appear in the Islands' coat of arms.
The flag consist of the town's coat of arms in the fly and a smaller version of the Provincial flag in the upper right-hand part, thus proclaiming Shediac to be a New Brunswick municipality and the Province's tourism capital.
Shediac's coat of arms combines symbols which recall simultaneously and harmoniously its past, its present and its future.
The art work for the coat of arms and the flag of Shediac was done by Miss Karen Bailey of Ottawa. They were created by Robert Pichette of Moncton, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (U.K.), and former president of the Heraldry Society of Canada.