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Dufferin County, Ontario (Canada)

Last modified: 2012-09-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: dufferin county | ontario |
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Description of the flag

The History of the Dufferin County Flag
The County of Dufferin was incorporated by an act passed in the Ontario Legislature in 1874. The proclamation of the new county was made 24 January 1881 after several conditions had been met, including construction of new county buildings in Orangeville. The residents of Amaranth, East Garafraxa, Melancthon, Mono and Mulmur Townships as well as those of the Village of Shelburne and Town of Orangeville had voted to form a new county, carved out of Simcoe, Wellington and Grey Counties. Several names for the new county had been suggested, Hurontario being a favorite, but a decision was made during the drafting of the legislation to name it in honour of the popular Earl of Dufferin, who had been Governor General of Canada from 1872 to 1878.

No records exist that there was any Coat of Arms or flag created for the newly created County of Dufferin. Letters and drawings exist in the Dufferin County Museum and Archives dating from 1909. The letters are from Lord Dufferin's son, the Second Marquis of Dufferin and Ava. The letter includes two drawings: one shows the official coat of arms of the family and a second shows a modified the family arms he suggested might be used as a county crest. Rowels (spurs) in the top section were replaced by maple leaves and maple leaf sprays were added to the bottom, outside of the shield. The middle bar became solid. The letter warns however that according to the rules of heraldry "it is not strictly correct for a corporate body to use a crest, the reason being that the crest should always be shown on a helmet, and a corporate body has no head and therefore cannot wear a helmet." The meaning of some of the heraldic devices is not clear. The crescent is sometimes used to indicate a second son and the diamond or Mascle is often found but has no particular known significance. In his letter Lord Dufferin continues, "The motto is Per Vias Rectas or, in English, By The Right Ways. The County Council can adopt this motto if they wish". To the knowledge of Dufferin County staff the College of Arms has never recognized the Dufferin County crest. Minutes of the Reporting Committee for the Centenial of March 26, 1981 record that "Mr. Gordon Clark who is with the law firm of McCarthy and McCarthy who Mr. Wm. Church had been in touch with regarding the registration of the County of Dufferin Crest. Mr. Clark advised Mrs. Rodger that the cost to register the Crest will be $ 300." Research does not show if this was done.

Historical records do not show any adoption or use of an official flag. In an interview with Harry Baker, who was Clerk of the County starting in 1964 to "it was the councils of 1966 and 67 that decided that a flag was needed". The County of Dufferin was about to celebrate the Centennial of Canada. Arnold Patterson the Warden in 1966 was certainly well known in this area as a true patriot, later working on various national identity projects. Although no invoices can be found, Mr. Baker remembers that the flags were ordered and made by Kennedy Flags of Erin, Ontario. Mr. Baker recalls that "we had no design in mind. The man from Kennedy's made the design for us from things provided". No one knows why blue was chosen for the ground colour: it may have been a design decision by the flag designer. The Dufferin County Museum has a flag in its collection (artifact A97-291) which has the county crest, the dates 1867-1967 and the wording "County of Dufferin, Ontario's Heartland." The flag carries a smaller tag that reads Kennedy Flags No. 7. This flag was donated by Victor Large, a County Councillor. Whether the flag was used before this time cannot be verified through official county minutes. In 1974 the County of Dufferin sponsored and published its first official history book. The book reproduced the color drawings of the crest sent by the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava and his accompanying letters. The book was an instant hit, and suddenly an old crest became recognizable throughout the area again. It is not known when the wording "Ontario's Heartland" was removed from the flag. However, I didn't get any picture of the flag.
Complete story by Wayne Townsend, Curator Dufferin County Museum and Archives.

About the county:
"Dufferin County is a county of the Canadian province of Ontario. The county seat is Orangeville. Dufferin covers an area of 359,812 acres (562 sq mi; 1,456 km2), and its population is 54,436 (2006)." - from Wikipedia:,_Ontario

Official website:

Valentin Poposki, 28 April 2010