Canada 150 coins capture ‘heartfelt expressions’

By Bret Evans

An eight-year-old Richmond Hill girl, Joelle Wong, is among the Canadians whose designs have been selected for the Canada 150 circulating coins coming out next year.

Wong’s design, which will appear on the 25-cent coin, is called Hope, and shows a bird, turtle, and beaver with a plant stem and pair of hands.

“I love animals and green spaces and that gave me the idea of showing my hope for Canada’s future in a painting that celebrates the importance of our nature and native Canadian culture,” said Wong. “It’s amazing that so many Canadians liked my way of wishing a happy birthday to my beautiful homeland — Canada!”

The Canada 150 coins were unveiled Nov, 2, in five consecutive launches held across Canada, each one in the designer’s home town. The designs were selected through the My Canada, My Inspiration design contest. The contest saw Canadians submit coin designs for each of the five circulating values. After vetting past a mint group, a panel of prominent Canadians short-listed the designs. Voting was then done by Canadians.

The selected design for the $2 coin shows the Northern lights above a lake scene, with a canoe in the foreground. It was designed by Dr. Timothy Hsia, of Richmond Hill, B.C.

“The Northern lights are a true Canadian wonder, one that all Canadians from sea to sea can appreciate and call their own. To me, this radiant light display embodies Canada’s unity and beauty,” said Timothy Hsia. “I titled my design Dance of the Spirits after how the Cree people attribute the Northern lights to the special moment when the spirits manifest themselves, dancing, to the human eyes and minds below. I am thrilled that so many fellow Canadians share this sense of wonder I feel for Canada and her glorious nature.”

The $1 coin, Connecting Canada, was designed by Wesley Klassen, of St. Catharines, Ont.

Klassen, who called his coin Connecting Canada, said he had two inspirations; a love of trains, and the $2 coin commemorating Sir John A. Macdonald.

“It started with a love of trains,” he told Canadian Coin News (CCN).

“The coin got me to thinking about how Macdonald created the national railway. Then I added in scenes from my boyhood vacations.”

The design shows two trains, and landmarks such as Lion’s Gate Bridge, a prairie grain elevator, the CN Tower, Quebec City’s Chateau Frontenac, and an East Coast lighthouse.

Amy Choi, of Calgary, Alta., is the designer of the 10-cent coin, Wings of Peace, which combines images of a maple leaf and a dove.

“My coin design expresses the hope that, one day, the offering of the maple leaf will be as symbolic as the offering of an olive branch,” said Choi. “Since Canada is known worldwide for its desire to promote peace, cooperation and diversity, I was moved to combine the maple leaf and the dove as my way to show what I admire most about my country.”

Ironically, the five-cent coin will also still feature a beaver, this time swimming under water.

Called Living Traditions, the coin was designed by Gerald Gloade, of Millbrook First Nations, N.S.

Gloade credits the 1967 coin series as part of his inspiration.

“I’ve always treasured the Alex Colville-designed set of centennial coins that I received as a young boy and having the chance to leave your own mark on a Canadian circulation coin is an amazing way to be involved in the celebration of Canada 150,” he said. “As a proud Mi’kmaw, I was inspired to re-imagine the beaver of our traditional five-cent coin through the eyes of my own First Nations culture.”

“From the artists who shared their vision to the people who voted for their favourite designs, Canadians showed how much Canada means to them,” said Sandra Hanington, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM).  “The My Canada, My Inspiration coin design contest captured heartfelt expressions of the spirit of Canada and the Mint is proud that our 2017 circulation coins will give Canadians new stories worth holding onto as they celebrate Canada 150.”

All of the coins share some common design elements.

The obverse designs all contained the dual dates 1867-2017, while the obverse has a small Canada 150 logo beneath the Queen’s portrait.

While the coin designs were unveiled in November, and some trail strikes were available for examination, production is not expected to start until December, 2016 at the earliest.

John Moore, RCM vice-president of sales, told CCN that he expected it could be a long as eight months before all of the coins actually see circulation.

Moore added that there will be collector products based on the commemorative designs, but also a number of non-circulating legal tender coins around the Canada 150 theme.

“I believe we have about four dozen products planned,” he said.

Shawn Henderson, RCM director of product development, said that as circulating coins, the exact number to be struck will be based on demand, but he confirmed that mintages will be in the millions, with 12-million 25-cent coins and 10-million dollar coins expected.

The commemorative designs will appear on the 2017 Silver Proof set with a commemorative $1 coin with selective gold plating.

The commemorative dollar shows a map of Canada, with a flag in the background, and a large 150 in the foreground. The reverse also has the dates 1867 and 2017 and the Canada 150 logo.

The coin obverse was designed by Jamie Desroches.

While the standard coin designs will not be struck for circulation in 2017, Moore said there will be Brilliant Uncirculated sets available, as well as a second BU set containing the commemorative designs.

Collectors will also be able to order rolls of the commemorative designs, or collector packs containing one of each coin.

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