Dorothy Stone – artist who designed the Halton Hills Coat of Arms

Dorothy Stone’s life and death is a bit of a mystery. Some say she was eccentric, an “oddball” who lived in the house she built just outside of Georgetown, with her cats and paintings. The artist Dorothy Stone was the woman who designed the Coat of Arms for Halton Hills, Halton Region, Milton, and Burlington that are still being used to this day.

Dorothy studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. Where she later taught art. Sometime around 1945 she decided to leave the city and moved to Georgetown. She bought 2 acres of land on 17th Side Road and had a house built there.

Dorothy studied with the Group of Seven and was an accomplished artist, very much active on the local art scene. Their influence is clearly visible in her paintings. However, she became most known for designing the armourial bearings of Halton Hills, Halton Region, Milton and Burlington that still hang in the town halls, courthouses and municipal offices.

Designing Coats of Arms

In 1970’s, municipalities in the Halton region went through major reorganization (that is when the name Halton Hills came in place). As a member of the Canadian Heraldry Society, she  approached the civic leaders and suggest getting proper armorial bearings.

Designing Coat of Arms is an honour that goes back to the middle ages. The bearings must properly symbolize a city, region, or municipality they represent to be approved. In Canada, the creation of armourial bearings is governed by the Canadian Heraldry Society. Five heralds design new coats of arms, flags, and badges, and two heralds oversee the creation of artwork. The designs are then sent to Edinburg, Scotland for approval and Letters of Patent are issued granting the use.

Dorothy Stone
Picture: Brennan, Pat, 1976 Toronto Star Photograph Archive, Courtesy of Toronto Public Library
The Coat of Arm for Halton Hills (left) with the motto: Heritage, Integrity, Truth. Halton Region (middle) with motto: Without Effort Nothing. Milton (right) we could not find description.

Symbolism of the Armourial Bearings

Halton Hills Coat of Arms were awarded to the Town in 1975, by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, followed by the grant of a badge in 1984. Both were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority in 2005. Their acompanied description is:[36]

Arms: Per pale, dexter Or two bendlets wavy Sable, sinister Azure two escarpes wavy Argent, a chief per fess dancetty Azure and Argent, overall a white pine tree (Pinus strobus) proper;

Motto: Hereditas Integritas Veritas (Latin: Heritage, integrity, truth)

Badge: On an oval Azure a white pine tree Argent within a wreath of five oak leaves alternating with five papyrus leaves Or.

Coat of Arms Halton Region
The green field symbolizes the landscape and agricultural wealth of the Region set on the shores of Lake Ontario, represented by the wavy lines in the base.
The silver band with ragged edges alludes to the dramatic feature of the Niagara Escarpment. It is intertwined with the continuous gold Bowen Knot, a symbol of the four constituent municipalities of Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville.
The coronet is that adopted by the Scottish heralds for County arms.

Dorothy Stone was an active and enthusiastic member of the Canadian Heraldry Society, contributing a number of articles to Heraldry in Canada. She was made one of the first Honorary Fellows of the Heraldry Society of Canada in 1979 and a full Fellow in 1983. She bequeathed to the Society a substantial sum of money that became the start of its Investment Fund.

Dorothy Stone honours and awards

  • 1983 Fellow of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada
  • 1979 Honorary Fellow of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada
  • 1979 Associate Ontario College of Art

Dorothy Stone never married. She lived in the house she built, together with her cats. When she died, on June 6, 1991, she bequeathed a substantial amount of money to the Heraldry Society of Canada and to the Georgetown and District Memorial Hospital.

A street in Georgetown is named after Dorothy Stone, near Gellert Community Park.

When a person dies without children, it is up to their friends to carry their wishes and preserve their memory. And that is what we are trying to do for Dorothy – by sharing this article and  caring for her house and gardens the way she would have liked. Some people should not be forgotten.