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Laval University (Canada)

Last modified: 2015-05-07 by rob raeside
Keywords: laval university | alerions: 16 | scallops: 4 |
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[Laval University flag] image by Luc Baronian

[Laval University flag] image by Luc Baronian

See also:

Laval University

Laval University in Quebec City flies a banner of arms. I am not sure whether the flag is 1:2 or 2:3. The arms inverse the color-metal pairs of those of Monseigneur François de Montmorency-Laval, first bishop of New France, who founded the Quebec Seminary in 1663, from which Laval University was to stem in 1852.

On the family arms, the alerions were originally 4 in number, but after Mathieu II de Montmorency took Emma de Laval as his wife around 1218 A.D., they multiplied to 16. Five scallops were added onto the cross in 1250 when Guy VII de Montmorency inherited the lands of his half brother, Mathieu d'Attichy.

Interestingly, the city of Laval (a suburb of Montreal) also uses a variation on the family arms of François de Laval by inversing the metals (Ed: arms not shown on FOTW):

Laval Family University City
shield: Or Gules Argent
cross: Gules Or Gules
alerions: Azure Argent Azure
scallops: Argent Azure Or

Note that the Commune de Laval in France uses the original family arms, which were gules, a leopard or.

Sources: Mairie de Laval (France). Maynard, Diane & Eraud, Dominique, "Armoiries de Laval et de ses seigneurs", Mayenne Archéologie Histoire, n°18, 1995.
Luc Baronian, 29 May 2005

Luc wonders if the flag is 1:2 or 2:3. I can say that the flag is 2:3 after seeing 2 in Quebec city flying next to the provincial flag of Quebec.
Marc Pasquin, 22 January 2006

The flag and arms are described on the website of the Laval University. (in French)

The flag of the University shall be a banner of its arms.

In 1951, the Laval University adopted new arms featuring the main cahrcteristics of His Grace Laval's arms; a shield with a cross charged with five shells and cantonned with 16 alerions without beak and legs, symbolizing the enemies defeated during pilgrimages by His Grace's ancestors. (Note the semantic drift: in the original Montmorency arms, the alerions recall standards captured from the enemy during battles and there is no religious meaning intended). The colours of the original arms were swapped: the field is red, the cross yellow, the alerions silver grey and the shells blue. The reference to His Grace Laval, first Bishop of Quebec, recalls the relation of the University to the Bishop, who founded the Vieux Séminaire of Quebec.

The motto "Deo favente haud pluribus impar" means "With God's grace, to nobody else comparable". It was inspired by Louis XIV's motto "Nec pluribus impar". The University decided that modesty should not be a royal privilege.

Use of Arms

The use of the name, the coat of arms, of the institutional identification and of the blason of the Laval University is prescribed by a Regulation voted by the Board of the University on 17 June 1998, amended on 21 June 2000 and 21 September 2001.

I. Name, coat of arms, institutional identification and blason of the Laval University


b) The coat of arms and the blason

5. The coat of arms of the Laval University shall be the one adopted in 1952 for the centenary of the foundation of the University and registered according to the Law on Trademarks (L.R.C. 1985 c. T-13). They are made of a blason whose herladic description is: "Gules a cross or charged of five scallops aeure and cantonned of sixteen alerions argent, a listel bearing "Deo favente, haud pluribus impar"."

6. The use of the coat of arms of the University is restricted to official purposes. They are shown on the seal of the University and in other cases allowed by the Secretary General of the University.

c) The insitutional identification

7. The institutional identification of the Laval University is made of the followign elements: the balson and the official name "UNIVERSITE LAVAL". These elements should not be separated, except in cases prescribed by the present Regulation.

8. The University, the bodies which constitute it and the members of its staff shall used the visual identification of the University, as it was approved by the Board, according to the terms prescribed in the visual identification program adopted by the Executive Committee.

Source: (in French)

The graphic chart of the Laval University give recommendations for the use of the coat of arms on printed documents. The colour specifications are:
Red: CMYK 0-100-100-0 / Pantone 485 / RGB 255-51-0
Yellow: CMYK 0-20-100-0 / Pantone 116 / RGB 255-204-0
Grey: CMYK 0-0-0-15 / Pantone 427 / RGB 204-204-204
Blue: CMYK 100-0-0-0 / Pantone Cyan / RGB 0-153-255
Source: Normes graphiques (PDF in French)

A picture of the real flag of the University, taken by student Louise Néron, can be seen at the university website This picture clearly demonstrates that the real flag does not follow the graphic chart for the coat of arms and that the image above is quite good.
Ivan Sache, 23 September 2006

François Montmorency de Laval

François Montmorency de Laval (1623-1708) was the first Bishop of Nouvelle-France. His correct name should be François de Laval since he belonged to the junior branch of the family. He was ordained Bishop on 8 December 1658 in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey in Paris and landed in Quebec on 16 June 1659. He founded on 26 March 1663 a priests' community, that opened in 1663 the Grand Séminaire de Québec. The Bishop travelled three times to France and visited his huge diocese using all required means of transportation (foot, canoe, snwoshoes…). He fought against the sale of alcohol to the Amerindians, threatening the alcohol traders with excommunication. François de Laval was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 June 1980.

Source: François de Laval website
Ivan Sache, 23 September 2006