Badges of the Royal Canadian Navy

Antigonish is a Micmac word to describe a place of broken branches. The badge shows a bear who is presumably the one who broke the branches.

We present the rich heraldry behind the badges of the Canadian Navy. These badges provide an emblem for ships, air squadrons, reserve divisions and shore establishments and come directly from the long-standing traditions of the Royal Navy. These badges are symbols of allegiance and represent the name, the origin and sometimes the function of each vessel.

All Canadian Navy badges are surmounted by either the naval crown, which distinguishes HMC ships from other badges. This ancient symbol is similar to the rostral crown of the Romans. It consists of a circlet bearing the sterns of three ships of the line, each with three lanterns and two squared sails spread on a mast and yard, fully fitted and sheeted home. The hulls and sails are placed alternately around the circlet. Its use in England as a badge of naval distinction and honour dates back three centuries, possibly longer.

Online Badge Collection

We have a fairly extensive collection of images encompassing nearly all the official badges used by the Royal Canadian Navy since inception:

Badge Information

We have also included two "Crowsnest" articles that describe the development of official Ship's badges for the RCN:

  • Badges for the RCN - December 1948
    The Royal Canadian Navy will get official badges for all ships.
  • Heraldry on the High Seas - April 1956
    How are the ship's badges for the RCN ship's designed? What do the designs mean? What is the history behind the badges?