The history of the mace in Newfoundland and Labrador begins with the hand painted wooden mace. This is believed to be the original mace, given by the British authorities to the newly elected House of Assembly in 1833.
The Mace of the Québec National Assembly was made in 1867 by jeweller Charles O. Zollikoffer. It is decorated with acanthus and lotus leaves. Its cup is surmounted by a crown decorated with a cross and the letters “ER” for “Elizabeth Regina”.
Made of copper and gold-plated, Ontario’s Mace was crafted in Ottawa in 1867. It is the third Mace to be used in the province’s history since the establishment of the Legislature during colonial times in 1792. The province’s first Mace was captured by American soldiers during the War of 1812 and later returned, and the second – dating from around 1845 – ended up in the federal parliament following Confederation in 1867 and was subsequently destroyed during a 1916 fire.
Manitoba’s original Mace was carved out of the hub of a Red River cart wheel by a soldier with the Wolseley Expedition Force (sent out to deal with the Riel Rebellion in 1869). This Mace was used for a period of 13 years between March 15, 1871 and March 12, 1884.
The Mace currently in use in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan was made in 1906 and used for the first time in March of that year at the opening of the First Session of the First Legislative Assembly. Purchased from Ryrie Bros. Ltd. of Toronto at a cost of $340.00, it is made of heavy gold-plated brass and is about four feet long. The head consists of a Royal Crown with the arches surmounted by a Maltese cross and bears the Royal Coat-of-Arms on the top indicating the Royal Authority. Each side is decorated with a sheaf of wheat, representing the province’s agricultural wealth, a beaver representing Canada and the monogram E.R. VII, representing the sovereign at the time, Edward VII. The shaft and base are ornamented with a shamrock, thistle and rose intertwined.
A Latin inscription around the Royal Coat of Arms reads in English, “Edward the Seventh, by the Grace of God of British Isles and Lands beyond the sea which are under British rule, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India”.
Alberta’s first Legislature was caught off guard just before its first sitting: there was no Mace. Because nobody so much as suggested that a sitting could be held without it, Alexander Rutherford’s Liberal government ordered the rush construction of one from Watson Brothers Jewelry of Calgary.
The third and current Mace of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia made its first official appearance in the Chamber on February 17, 1954 for the opening of the second session of the 24th Parliament. Entirely handmade by Jefferies & Company, Victoria silversmiths, from native British Columbia silver, it is plated with 24 carat gold and weighs 11 pounds. The traditional design has a long shaft topped by a deep bowl surmounted by a representation of St. Edward’s Crown and the Royal Cypher. The bowl bears the coats of arms of Canada and British Columbia, and four embossed scenes depicting the province’s forestry, fishing, farming and mining industries, similar to those shown in murals painted on the ceiling of the Upper Rotunda of the Parliament Buildings in Victoria.
On April 1, 1999, the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut sat for the first time. Six artists collaborated on the design and creation of Nunavut’s Heritage Mace and Working Mace: the late Mariano Aupilardjuk (Rankin Inlet), Inuk Charlie (Cambridge Bay), Paul Malliki (Naujaat), Mathew Nuqingaq (Iqaluit), the late Simata Pitsualak (Kimmirut) and Joseph Suqslaq (Gjoa Haven). The Heritage Mace is kept on permanent display in the Legislative Assembly Precinct. The Working Mace sees daily service during sittings of the House and other occasions requiring its presence. Both Maces are 150cm in length. A narwhal tusk forms the shaft of the Heritage Mace. A synthetic material forms the shaft of the Working Mace. A quartz crystal is set into the tip of the Heritage Mace. A 2.25-carat diamond is set into the tip of the Working Mace. Materials that are common to both Maces include amethyst, black quartz, citrine, garnet, granite, lapis lazuli, silver, soapstone, quartz and white marble. One of the ongoing outreach initiatives of the Office of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is the biennial Mace Tour, during which the Speaker visits schools and other facilities across Nunavut’s 25 communities to display the Mace and to discuss the work of the institution that it helps to safeguard. Earlier this year, the Speaker and the Mace paid visits to the communities of Baker Lake and Gjoa Haven.
The current Mace of the Northwest Territories (NWT) was unveiled in January 2000. It was constructed by three artists – Bill Nasogaluak, Dolphus Cadieux and Allyson M. Simmie – who were dubbed ‘the snowflake team’. Sitting on the top of the Mace is a northern diamond. This 1.31 karat diamond rests on two ulus forming the shape of a tipi and within this shape is a cutout of a house. The ulu, tipi, and house represent all aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples in the NWT. Beneath these symbols rests a band of silver engraved with the words “One Land, Many Voices” in 10 of the official languages of the NWT. The most distinctive feature of this Mace is its sound. Within the language band, shaft, and the foot are tiny pebbles collected from the 33 communities in the NWT. When moved, the shifting of the pebbles creates a magical sound similar to a rainstick, representing the united voices of the people and a firm reminder that we live on one land with many distinct voices.
In 1964, 55 years after its creation as a wholly-elected body, the Yukon Territorial Council (now the Legislative Assembly) established a competition for the design of a Yukon Mace. In 1966, a design submitted by RCMP Corporal James Ballantyne was chosen. However, funding the Mace’s creation took some time.