Vancouver Island University

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VANCOUVER ISLAND UNIVERSITY (until 2008 Malaspina University-College)

Country: Canada
Campus/location : Nanaimo, Powell River, Duncan, Parksville-Qualicum Beach

Coat of arms (crest) of Vancouver Island University

Official blazon

Arms : Or over three barrulets wavy Azure in base a representation of a Spanish corbeta tempore 1790 Azure sails Argent edged Gules on a chief dancetty Azure four open books Argent bound Or
Crest : Issuant from a Salish canoe Gules a demi-sun in splendour Or
Supporters : On a grassy mount set with fir trees Vert in front of mountains proper crested Argent all rising above barry wavy Argent and Azure two eagles Or heads Argent wings elevated and addorsed Azure
Motto: Discoveries in education


The arms were officially granted on May 20, 1995.

The late 18th century Spanish sailing vessel is the type used by Captain Alejandro Malaspina who sailed the waters off Vancouver Island in 1791 in search of the Northwest Passage. The vessel thus recalls this academic institution’s namesake and honours the tradition of exploration. The upper jagged line refers to the mountain range across the Strait of Georgia as seen from the main campus. Active learning is depicted through the open books. The gold binding symbolizes the value of pursuing an education and the wealth of knowledge. The four books stand for the main campus and the three regional campuses of the university.

The principal element of the crest is a red sea-going Salish canoe. Out of it rises a yellow demi-sun, emblem of enlightenment, life and aspiration for learning. This crest pays homage to the First Nations, whose heritage is an important element in the university programs, and especially to the members of the Salish Nation who live in each of the regions now served by the University-College.

The eagles signify inspiration and striving. For the First Nations, the eagle plays a prominent role in symbolizing wisdom and power. The eagles stand on a base that consists of three natural elements: vegetation, mountains and water. The evergreens and lush greenery are in abundance in the Vancouver Island region. The majestic mountains recall the vista accessible from all of the four campuses and are unique to the western part of Canada. The alternating white and blue wavy bars refer to the presence of water at each of the campuses’ location.

The motto was adopted by Malaspina University-College when it was inaugurated in 1969. It also provides a connection with one of Captain Alejandro Malaspina’s ship, the Descubierta, which means “discovery”.

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