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A Brief History of the Waterloo Region Law Association

The Waterloo County Law Association was formed on December 21, 1894 which was certified by His Honour Judge Anthony Lacause, Esquire, Senior County Judge of the County of Waterloo on June 13, 1895 and filed in the office of the Clerk of the Peace on that date so that the Waterloo County Law Association became on June 13, 1895 a corporation under an Act Respecting Benevolent, Provident and Other Societies, R.S.O. 1887, Chapter 172.

The original Declaration of Incorporation states nine trustees will  manage  the affairs of the “society.” The first nine trustees of the Waterloo County Law Association were: Ward Hamilton Bowlby, Q.C., Frederick G. Allenby, Alexander Miller, Q.C., John Rowe, Frederick Colquhoun, Edwin Perry Clement, Conrad Bitzer, William J. Millican and W.S. Turnbull.

 Today, our not-for-profit association continues to provide valuable library and research services, and has also grown to become a leading organization committed to offering its members advocacy, legal education, mentorship and guidance through the ongoing challenges facing the profession. The WRLA is currently the sixth largest law association in Ontario with over 620 members. The WRLA is governed by a volunteer board of lawyers and paralegals from all practice areas and represents all sizes of local law firms. The WRLA operates in the Waterloo Region Courthouse Library and has one of the largest private law library collections in Ontario promoting our three pillars: KNOWLEDGE, ADVOCACY, and COMMUNITY

The Symbolism Contained in the Waterloo Region Law Association Crest:

In creating a design to serve as an emblem for the Waterloo Law Association, the focus was on identifying appropriate symbols that would remind the legal community of the great traditions of our profession. The most important element in the design would be the courage, integrity, and high responsibilities of our calling. The second important element was to identify symbols that would relate to our local heritage and the things that make us and our community unique. Last but not least, we were determined to adopt a crest that was aesthetically pleasing and had artistic merit that would be used with pride by our Association in the years to come.

In blending these three elements, the Trustees of our Association sought the advice and creative genius of Mr. Kenneth Jarvis, the noted Canadian artist and sculptor. As a respected lawyer and long time secretary of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Mr. Jarvis brought to the task a strong commitment to the ideal we sought to portray. He also brought a wealth of artistic experience and his enthusiasm and thoroughness in taking on the task has resulted in a design which is unique and original, aesthetically pleasing and stimulating and it combines those historical, local and professional characteristics which were sought.

The dominant element in the design is the dove of peace. The style is typical of the Mennonite Fractur art exemplified by the well-known 19th century Mennonite artist Anna Weber. In using the dove, we are reminded of the search for peace and the hope and optimism of the peacemaker. The dove sits on a weather vane that points the way. It gives direction. It faces adverse weather. It represents the stabilizing influence and leadership of the legal profession. In using the initials "WLA" instead of the usual initials found in the weather vane, we have the initials of Waterloo Law Association which also spell "law".

The weather vane is placed on a hip roof, symbolic of the barns located in our agricultural areas. The barn is a symbol of shelter and protection. The shape of the upper edge of the emblem is copied from a parchment indenture found in the Museum located at Osgoode Hall. This combines with the overall shape and design of the crest to convey a feeling of sanctuary and comfort. It combines the agricultural base of our community with the traditions of our profession. The overall effect is a balanced, modern look; simple and elegant. The colours used are earth tones. The overall effect is distinctive, clean, professional but conveying a sense of warmth and reassurance.

The crest was adopted at the Annual General Meeting of the Waterloo Law Association on February 22, 1989 and continues to be an uplifting and unifying symbol for this Association.

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Kitchener, ON N2H 0A4

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