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Sarnia, Ontario (Canada)

Lambton County

Last modified: 2018-07-18 by rob raeside
Keywords: sarnia | ontario |
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[Sarnia, Ontario] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

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Sarnia is a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada, and the largest city on Lake Huron and in Lambton County. Sarnia is located on the eastern bank of the junction between the Upper and Lower Great Lakes where Lake Huron flows into the St. Clair River, which forms the Canada–United States border, directly across from Port Huron, Michigan.

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.


The flag of the City of Sarnia is a Canadian pale design of blue-white-blue, with its coat of arms in the centre, nearly the full height of the flag. The simple shield has a horizontal top and simply-curved sides forming a pointed “U” shape. It has a yellow field with a horizontal wavy line of white edged in blue crossing the centre. In the upper left is a stylized 16th-century sailing ship, with hull, mast, spars and rudder in brown, pennants in red, and three wind-filled square sails in white, all outlined in black. The bow points toward the left. In the upper right is a sheaf of wheat in red and yellow. At the base of the shield is a half-circle, curve-upward, whose sides intersect the shield edges one-fourth of the distance from its base to its top. The half-circle is black with four vertical white stripes, creating the effect of nine alternating black and white stripes. Atop the shield is a stone castle with three towers, in white with blue details, arched with its lower corners meeting the top of the shield. Surmounting the base of each tower, and in smaller form in between them, appears a Guernsey lily blossom in red, five in all. Below the shield is a ribbon in white, outlined in black and with a red back, inscribed SARNIA SEMPER, one word on each side, in sans-serif letters in blue.
Christopher Bedwell
, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Sarnia Semper means “Sarnia always” in Latin, and alludes to the city’s namesake (Sarnia was the Roman name for Guernsey, an island in the English Channel). The castle, a three-towered mural crown, represents civic government. It is charged with Guernsey lilies (Nerine sarniensis), the national flower of Guernsey. The use of red and white refers to Canada. The ship, perhaps a depiction of the explorer La Salle’s barque Le Griffon, which arrived in 1679, recalls the historical significance of shipping as well as Sarnia’s current importance as a commercial port and recreational boating centre. The wheat sheaf recognizes the rural area which remains an important part of the city (and perhaps the former Town of Clearwater, which merged with Sarnia in 1991). The wavy line symbolizes the St. Clair River, into which Lake Huron flows at Sarnia. The black and white stripes in the half-circle (reminiscent of a locomotive pilot, or “cowcatcher”) represent the railway line through Sarnia and the St. Clair Railway Tunnel which joins Sarnia with Port Huron, Michigan.
Christopher Bedwell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Christopher Bedwell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Unknown. The arms were designed and granted by Robert D. Watt, Chief Herald of Canada, on 20 July 1993.
Christopher Bedwell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Former Flag

[Sarnia, Ontario] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

Before Sarnia’s 1991 municipal amalgamation and the grant of new arms in 1993, it used a flag of 1:2 proportions and a white field. In its centre is a coat of arms five-eighths the height of the flag, below a ribbon extending the width of the flag depicting the city’s name. The ribbon is red with a black border, inscribed CITY OF SARNIA in white sans-serif letters. The shield contains several elements: a three-towered mural crown in grey, a stylized 16th-century sailing ship in red and white, a stylized sprig of broom in yellow and green, two wavy horizontal lines of light blue, a wavy horizontal black line, and nine alternating black and white vertical stripes. On a salmon-coloured scroll is Sarnia Semper, in a stylized medieval script in black. The arms were designed by the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh, Scotland, and granted on 3 April 1957.
Christopher Bedwell, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011