OTD: Mint unveils ‘My Design, My Inspiration’ circulation coins

On today’s date in 2016, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled the designs for its 2017 circulation coins following a nationwide contest celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

As simultaneous unveiling ceremonies unfolded in the communities of each of the five winning coin designers, the Mint unveiled the work of Amy Choi, whose design graces the reverse of the 2017-dated 10-cent circulation coin.

“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.”

Despite lacking formal art training, Choi was elegantly illustrated what she felt Canada achieved in its first 150 years through a work entitled “Wings of Peace.” Her design shows an airborne maple leaf that forms the wings and tail of a dove delicately outlined beneath it.

The $2 coin was designed by British Columbia’s Timothy Hsia, whose entry was chosen as the winner of the ‘Our Wonders’ theme.


On March 11, 2015, the Mint launched a national contest inviting the public to create new designs for a 2017 circulation coin series celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial from five theme perspectives.

The categories include:

  • Our Wonders;
  • Our Character;
  • Our Achievements;
  • Our Passions; and
  • Canada’s Future.

The $1 coin was designed by Klassen, whose entry was chosen as the winner of the ‘Our Achievements’ theme.

After the public cast more than one million online votes, Choi’s design won the popular vote among five finalists in the running for the coin celebrating “Our Character.”

The finalists in each category were determined by the Mint and a panel of notable Canadians. The winning design per category was selected by Canadians in an online vote which took place in September 2015. Each 2017-dated circulation coin denomination will feature one of the winning designs and Canadians will be able to find these coins in their change next spring.


The other four winners included:

  • Timothy Hsia, of Richmond, B.C., who designed the $2 “Dance of the Spirits” coin;
  • Wesley Klassen, of St. Catharines, Ont., who designed the $1 “Connecting a Nation” coin;
  • Joelle Wong, of Richmond Hill, Ont., who designed the 25-cent “Hope for a Green Future” coin; and
  • Gerald Gloade, of Millbrook First Nation, N.S., who designed the five-cent “Living Traditions” coin.

    The 25-cent coin was designed by Ontario’s Joelle Wong, entry was named ‘Hope for a Green Future.’

“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, Mint president and CEO. “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.”


At the 2017 National Postage Stamp and Coin Show held in Mississauga, Ont., Klassen signed 1,000 limited-edition “tent flip” coin holders that included an encapsulated uncirculated Canada 150 loonie.

Klassen said he had two inspirations for his design—a love for trains, and the 2012 $2 circulation coin commemorating Sir John A. Macdonald.

The 10-cent coin was designed by Alberta’s Amy Choi.

“It started with a love of trains,” he told Canadian Coin News. “The coin got me to thinking about how Macdonald created the national railway. Then I added in scenes from my boyhood vacations.”

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

The special card has the show name and date alongside the Canada 150 logo at the top. The coin’s name and category – “Connecting a Nation” and “Our Achievements,” respectively – appear alongside Klassen’s autograph at the bottom. The encapsulated uncirculated coin is in the centre of the card with both the obverse and reverse viewable through the clear capsule.

Lastly, the five-cent coin was designed by Millbrook First Nation community member and graphic designer Gerald Gloade, whose entry was chosen as the winner of the ‘Our Passions’ theme.

Previously, the Mint held public contests to design 25-cent coins for Canada’s 125th anniversary in 1992 as well as the Millennium celebrations in 1999-2000.

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