Long Lost City Emblem Discovered at The Galt Archives
An imprint of the corporate seal of the Town of Lethbridge dating back to 1890 has just been discovered at the Galt Museum & Archives. It is the first known Coat of Arms and visual identity of the municipal government.
Earlier in October, Galt Archivist, Andrew Chernevych, came across an imprint embossed on an early municipal contract. The intricate and bold design grabbed his attention. After further research, he discovered the document is the only surviving representation of the original City of Lethbridge Treasurer’s seal. City records from that period confirm the corporate seal was made for the City’s by master engraver A.B. Kale of Winnipeg in 1890. All bylaws and contracts were required to be authenticated with the seal. Chernevych consulted with his colleague and Galt Collections Technician, Kevin Maclean, to locate the matching stamping device in the Galt Collections but found nothing.
Until now, it was believed that all civic documents bearing the 1980 design had been lost. Chernevych observed “the shield of the [Lethbridge] Coat of Arms has the round shape of a medallion which is a highly unusual feature for a municipal crest.” The late Alex Johnston, prominent local historian, suggested that the city’s current Coat of Arms, created in 1907 by Rev. J.S. Chivers, was strongly influenced by an earlier corporate seal depicting a miner. Johnston wrote about Chivers’ design featuring a “brawny arm with a pick upraised in a striking position,” and included the year of incorporation as 1890. These similarities strongly suggest that the original corporate seal was indeed a prototype for the City of Lethbridge Coat of Arms used today.