Over the course of its history, the city of Vancouver has used three distinct coats of arms. The first, designed by City Alderman Lauchlan Hamilton and assumed in 1886, was pictorial in nature depicting a tree, a sailing ship and a train, and did not conform to any rules of heraldry. This coat was in use until 1903, when a newer version was assumed. The second version, designed by James Blomfield, contains many of the elements used in the current coat of arms: the pile (though charged in the second version with a caduceus), the logger and the fisherman as supporters, and the wavy bars alluding to the ocean. It also retains the motto from the previous emblem, By Sea and Land We Prosper.
The development of the third and current coat of arms started in 1928, when the city council attempted to register the second version with the College of Arms. The College rejected the registration. Between 1928 and 1932, a committee sat occasionally before shelving the issue. In 1962, the matter was reopened. Members of city staff visited the College to go over the design of the arms, assisted by the Chester Herald, Walter Verco. The grant of arms, as well as a badge derived from the arms, was finally approved on 31 March 1969 and presented to Vancouver City Council the following January.
Crest: A Ship signifying Vancouver's importance as a seaport, upon a mural crown, the traditional heraldic emblem for a city.
Shield: The dogwood flowers in the chief are a symbol of the province (they can also be found in the compartment of the coat of arms of British Columbia). The main charge is a Kwakiutl totem pole, symbol of the area's native heritage, surmounting wavy ribbons of blue and silver (for the waters surrounding the city).
Supporters: A logger and a fisherman, standing for the traditional industries of the area.
Motto: By Sea Land and Air We Prosper; the word "air" was added to the existing motto to acknowledge the growing importance of aviation to Vancouver's development.