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The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto
Grant of Arms and Supporters
September 20, 2007
Vol. V, p. 175
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Azure a Viking longship affronty rayonnant Or;
An open book Argent bound Azure surmounting five paint brushes Or;
Dexter the figure of Athena, sinister the figure of Apollo, both standing on a rocky mount proper;
OTIUM CUM DIGNITATE;
The design is based on the Club’s longstanding emblem, designed by the artist J.E.H. MacDonald. The ship symbolizes creative and intellectual exploration, and the sun’s rays refer to the illuminating role of art and literature.
The brushes and the book summarize the idea of arts and letters. The position of the brushes gives an impression of sunrise, indicating intellectual inspiration. The five brushes indicate the five disciplines (literature, architecture, music, painting, and sculpture) represented at the Club.
In Greek mythology, Athena was the goddess of wisdom and a skilled artisan, and Apollo was the god of art and music. The supporters also represent the foundational role of classical culture and the men and women who make up the Club. The compartment alludes to the rocky terrain of Algoma in tribute to the work done by the painters of the Group of Seven, for whom the Club was home in Toronto. This indicates that the creative work fostered by the Club takes place far and wide.
Meaning “leisure with dignity”, this has long been used as the motto of the Club. It was devised by Cicero in his works De Oratore and Ad Familiares.