A Livery Collar, or Chain of Office as it has come to be known, is a heavy chain collar, usually made of gold, worn as a symbol of the Office of the Mayor.
The term livery originally described a distinctive badge, uniform or device provided by someone of great rank or title to his closest or most important associates or servants.
Various forms of livery were used in the Middle Ages to denote attachment to an individual by political supporters, friends, and servants. The collar, usually fashioned of precious metal, was the grandest formof these.
Evidence of Livery Collars can be traced back to the 14th century. For example, in 1378, King Charles V of France granted the right to wear the collar of the Cosse de Geneste to his Chamberlain, Geoffrey de Belleville, at all feasts and in all companies.
The practice of giving and wearing livery collars eventually travelled to England, where Kings wore them and awarded them to important servants and ministers of the Crown as a symbol of their office, rank and service to the Monarch.
In Canada, mayors often wear their Chain of Office while carrying out official duties, a custom rooted in our British heritage. Today, the Chain of Office has come to symbolize both the role and authority of the Office of the Mayor, and the relationship of the Mayor to his/her people, as both their leader and their servant.
The City of Brampton’s Chain of Office
The current Chain of Office was made in 1974, when several towns and hamlets were amalgamated to create the modern City of Brampton. The Chain of Office bears a badge, a number of coats of arms and bars, all joined by a double chain and mounted on a collar of blue velvet.
The badge at the bottom of the collar is comprised of the City of Brampton’s coat of arms.
Directly above the badge are the three coats of arms of the three incorporated municipalities that make up what is now the City of Brampton: the Town of Brampton, the Township of Chinguacousy and the Township of Toronto Gore.
At various intervals around the collar are medallions bearing the coat of arms of the Province of Ontario, symbolizing the fact that municipalities are created under the jurisdiction of the province, the coat of arms of Canada, and the wheat sheaf.
During much of the 19th century, Peel County was the centre of wheat production in Canada. The wheat sheaf medallion harkens back to our rural heritage and the production of wheat as Brampton’s largest industry at the time of the village's founding.
Between these medallions are sets of double bars bearing the name and date of office of each mayor since 1974.