On today’s date in 1976, competition for that year’s Summer Olympic Games began in Montréal, Que.
The Games’ opening ceremony took place the previous day, at about 3 p.m., with a trumpet fanfare and the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II, who was joined by Michael Morris, then president of the International Olympic Committee. The duo was greeted by an orchestral rendition of O Canada.
“Despite fears that her arrival would be protested, the Queen arrived without incident yesterday in Montreal,” reported CBC News in 1976.
“The opening ceremony promises to be ’emotional and spectacular.’ But the impressive beauty of the ceremony will be in sharp contrast to the controversy that has already plagued these Games before they’ve even begun—from political arguments and boycotts, to ‘tighter than tight’ security measures and accusations of overspending.”
OLYMPIC COIN PROGRAM
In February 1973, the Royal Canadian Mint began issuing a set of coins as part of a novel program with the government of then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
The set – struck in commemoration of the 1976 Summer Olympics – would also help finance the massive undertaking.
It was decided to issue 30 coins—28 silver pieces in denominations of $5 and $10 as well as a 14-karat gold coin and a 22-karat gold coin. It would the first time the Mint issued $5 or $10 coins.
The coins were categorized into seven series, including:
- Olympic Motifs;
- Early Canadian Sports;
- Olympic Track and Field Sports;
- Olympic Water Sports;
- Olympic Team and Body Contact Sports; and
- Olympic Souvenirs.
Each series was configured into four-coin sets of two $5 coins and two $10 coins.
All 28 silver coins featured the Olympic logo, the denomination and the wording in the same positions. Each of the coins was struck in Hull, Qué.