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Civic heraldry of Canada
Province : Quebec
Arms : Azure a stage coach Or embellished Sable between in chief three plates and in base a bar wavy Argent charged with a barrulet wavy Vert.
Crest: On a bridge of three arches Argent, the upper edge embattled, a great horned owl Or beaked Gules, its dexter wing resting on an open book Or.
Supporters: Two horses Argent crined Or each gorged with a collar Azure, pendent therefrom a key Or, standing on a grassy mound Vert charged with two obelisks, the whole set on a base indented Argent.
Motto: THREE VILLAGES ONE BORDER • TROIS VILLAGES UNE FRONTIÈRE
The arms were officially granted on May 15, 2001.
The coach was important to the development of the region because Stanstead was the last station for changing horses in Canada before the route entered the United States. The wavy stripes at the bottom of the shield represent the Tomifobia River and the bicycle trail, all of which link the three main communities of Stanstead. These original settlements, Beebe Plain, Stanstead Plain, and Rock Island, are marked by the three white discs at the top of the shield. These white discs are also meant to indicate the circular saws used in the cutting of granite, an important local industry.
The bridge, symbolic of a linking of past and future, represents the fact that a several bridges span the Tomifobia River within Stanstead. The owl is a traditional symbol of wisdom, and, as such, symbolizes the educational establishments in Stanstead, most notably Stanstead College and the Ursulines boarding school, which have existed for over one hundred years. The owl also refers to the nearby Owl's Head mountain. The book is a reference to the library and the Haskell opera house at the Canadian-American border.
The horses, traditional symbols of hard work, are thematically linked to the coach on the arms and the importance of that form of transportation in the growth of Stanstead. The keys indicate the border post at Stanstead, representing the opening of a door between Canada and the United States. The granite base indicates the main industry of the region, the mining and processing of granite. The obelisks are those that mark the frontier between Canada and the United States.
THREE VILLAGES ONE BORDER TROIS VILLAGES UNE FRONTIÈRE appears in both major languages of the region and refers to the three communities that make up Stanstead, as well as to the nearby Canadian-American border.
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