The first nine days of September 150 years ago were key to shaping what Canada is today.
It was during that first week when Canada’s political leaders gathered at the Charlottetown conference to discuss Confederation.
The Royal Canadian Mint has produced an engraved and symbolically rich 1/25th ounce gold coin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences. The coin was unveiled Aug 26 on the grounds of Province House National Historic Site by the Gail Shea, minister of fisheries and oceans, Robert Ghiz, premier of Prince Edward Island and Marc Brûlé, chief financial officer of the Royal Canadian Mint.
“Our Government is proud that the Mint is paying tribute to the vital role our forefathers played in the creation of Canada, the best country in the world,” said Shea. “As we build the path towards Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, it is important to pause and reflect on such pivotal moments in our nation’s history.”
“As we continue to mark this celebration year across Prince Edward Island, I am delighted that the Mint has produced such a stunning keepsake to honour this landmark anniversary,” said Ghiz. “This coin is yet another way to remind Canadians from coast to coast to coast that, as a stepping stone to Confederation, Charlottetown holds a very special place in our history.”
“A key priority for the Mint is to mark distinctive milestones in Canada’s history, culture and values and paying tribute to such a significant step in our country’s road to nationhood is yet another example,” said Brûlé. “This coin is a beautiful addition for avid collectors or a thoughtful introduction to collecting for history buffs and Canadian heritage enthusiasts.”
The coin’s reverse design by Royal Canadian Mint engraver Matthew Bowen is a reinterpretation of Canada’s 1964 silver dollar celebrating the centennial of the Charlottetown and Quebec City Conferences. It features the floral symbols of the major European settler groups represented in the Canadian provinces at the time of Canadian Confederation: the French fleur-de-lis, the English rose, the Irish shamrock, and the Scottish thistle. This 99.99% pure gold coin, bearing a face value of 50-cents, has a limited mintage of 7,500 and retails for $129.95.
Below, from www.canadachannel.ca, is a daily highlight of the conferences:
- September 1, 1864 – Charlottetown Conference – Brown, Cartier, Galt, Macdonald and other delegates arrive at Charlottetown on the government steamer Queen Victoria, as five delegates each from the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island convene a Conference on Maritime Union; dinner is held at Government House; first of a series of meetings that ultimately lead to the formation of the Dominion of Canada. Charlottetown, PEI
- September 2, 1864 – The New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI delegates agree to postpone Maritime Union discussions, and invite the Canadians to put their case for the union of BNA; Canada East’s George-Etienne Cartier makes the opening presentation in favour of a great confederation of all the colonies, followed by Canada West’s John A. Macdonald; the delegates then take luncheon at the residence of Colonial Secretary William Pope, and the afternoon is spent walking, boating and taking carriage rides. Charlottetown, PEI
- September 3, 1864 – The Canadian case continues as John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier outline the arguments in favour of Confederation; Canada East’s Alexander Galt discusses the financial aspects of the proposal; the delegates then take a luncheon aboard the Queen Victoria, hosted by the Canadian Delegation; they return for dinner at the residence of Colonel Gray, Premier of Prince Edward Island.
- September 4, 1864 – The delegates attend Sunday church services and take a day of rest. Charlottetown, PEI
- September 5, 1864 – The Canadian case continues with a presentation by Canada West’s George Brown, followed by luncheon at the residence of George Coles, Leader of the Opposition. Charlottetown, PEI
- September 6, 1864 – The first order of business is the taking of the official photograph of the Fathers of Confederation at Government House; a final presentation is made by the Canadians, followed by luncheon at the residence of Attorney General Edward Palmer, and a supper and ball at Government House. Charlottetown, PEI
- September 7, 1864 – New Brunswick’s Samuel Tilley argues that Maritime provinces can get better terms under Confederation than by themselves; the New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI delegates agree to discard the idea of Maritime Union, and pursue a federal union. The Charlottetown Conference is then adjourned, and the delegates retire to a party hosted by the Canadians aboard the Queen Victoria. Charlottetown, PEI
- September 8, 1864 – The Canadian delegates are treated to an excursion to the beaches of Prince Edward Island’s North Shore, followed by a closing supper and ball at the Colonial Building (the Province House National Historic Site of Canada). Most delegates are up all night and head to the Queen Victoria at 5am to set sail for Halifax. Charlottetown, PEI
- September 9, 1864 – The Conference ended, most Canadian delegates, who have been up all night celebrating, head to the Queen Victoria at 5am to set sail for Halifax. Charlottetown, PEI
- September 10, 1864 – Jonathan McCully, writing as Anonymous, reports on “ The Colonial Convention ” in the Morning Chronicle. Halifax, Nova Scotia
- September 12, 1864 – Halifax Conference – Confederation conference reconvenes at Province House in Halifax; delegates agree to meet at Québec October 10, 1864 to work out final details. Halifax, Nova Scotia
- September 19, 1864 – Canadian delegates return to Quebec on the Queen Victoria after attending the conferences in Charlottetown and Halifax. Quebec, Quebec