The colors used in the coat of arms of Québec City possess a heraldic significance: gold symbolizes strength, faith, justice, wealth, constancy and splendor; silver: humility, purity, charity, truth and victory; azur: sovereignty, majesty, serenity, good reputation, knowledge, clarity and loyalty; gules: love, pain, grandeur, courage, generosity, bravery and intrepidity; and green: hope, revival, abundance, beauty, freedom and cheerfulness.

The ship represents the period when Québec was founded, in 1608, by Samuel de Champlain, who came from Honfleur. It also represents the maritime vocation of Québec with its important seaport. The full sails symbolize the strength and courage of the population. Each of the two keys has its own significance: the key on the right symbolizes Québec as the capital of New-France, of Canada, at the beginning of the English regime, and of Lower-Canada; the key on the left represents the Capital of the province of Québec since the Confederation. Together they symbolize the political and municipal history of the City of Québec.

The maple leaf symbolizes the canadian personality of the City of Québec and represents all ethnic elements of its population, along with the patriotic and civic spirit of its citizens. The crown, on top of the escutcheon, reminds us that Québec is a fortified city and that its founder, Champlain, also came from a fortified town, Brouage en Saintonge.

Last, the expression "Don de Dieu feray valoir" (which might be loosely translated as "Gift of God shall make prosper") is a testimony of christian faith symbolizing spiritual, moral and social virtues of the active and courageous population of Québec, and embodies the ideal of the city, drawn from the source of its foundation.