The official medal for the 2017 convention of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) features a portrait of Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine and the house where he grew up in Boucherville, Qué., this year’s host city.
The two elements—Lafontaine and his former home on 314 Boulevard Marie-Victorin—are intimately linked with the history of both Boucherville and Canada.
FIRST DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Lafontaine was born more than two centuries ago, on Oct. 4, 1807, in Boucherville, Lower-Canada. He was admitted to the bar in 1828, and two years later he became active in politics after being elected deputy for Terrebonne in the House of Assembly of Lower Canada.
According to the RCNA website, Lafontaine would later be appointed prime minister of Canada East between 1842 and 1843 and from 1848-51, making him the first democratically elected head of a government in the colonies of the world’s empires. Appointed at the age of 34, he’s also the youngest French-Canadian prime minister in history.
In 1853, following his retirement as prime minister, he was appointed chief justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench before being made baronet by Queen Victoria in 1854.
Lafontaine died in Montréal on Feb. 26, 1864.
JUNE 19 DAY TOUR
On June 19, a tour of Boucherville will be held from 9:30 a.m.-noon.
“This tour will include a stopover at the Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine house,” said RCNA President Nienhuis. “He is also featured on the convention medal along with his homestead that will be part of that tour on Wednesday.”
The mintages for this year’s convention medal are 190 (bronze) and 55 (silver) pieces. Each pre-registration kit includes a bronze medal, but extra bronze medals are available for $20 each. Silver medals are also available for $60.