50th anniversary of Official Languages Act marked with new silver coin

A new $10 silver coin marking the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act was unveiled this morning at the Royal Canadian Mint’s Ottawa facility.

Celebrating the equal status of English and French in Canada, the coin honours centuries of shared history with these two languages represented through one of the most recognizable symbols of our linguistic duality—the bilingual lyrics to O Canada.

“Whether at school, important events or before cheering on a sports team, Canadians stand with pride to sing O Canada in English and French,” said Mint President and CEO Marie Lemay, who was joined at this morning’s special striking ceremony by Secretary-General of La Francophonie Louise Mushikiwabo; Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Mélanie Joly; and Official Languages Commissioner Raymond Théberge

“The Mint is delighted to have captured that emotion on a coin that recognizes the strength of our bilingual heritage, half a century after the passage of the Official Languages Act.”

The coin’s reverse (shown), which features the dates ‘1969-2019,’ is accented by two red maple leaves surrounded by a concentric design of laser-engraved maple leaves.

REVERSE DESIGN

Designed by artist Joel Kimmel, the reverse of the new coin is dated “1969-2019″ and accented by maple leaves and the familiar words “WITH GLOWING HEARTS” and “DES PLUS BRILLIANTS EXPLOITS” coloured in bright red.

The background is laser-engraved with concentric maple leaves, gradually diminishing in size as they near the centre of the coin.

“Fifty years ago, the bill on official languages was developed to fulfill our dream of a strong, united society in which Anglophones and Francophones coexist and build a country that reflects and respects Canadian values,” said Joly. “This new collector coin, marking the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, celebrates the linguistic duality that defines us as Canadians.”

Bilingual inscriptions highlighting 50 years of the Official Languages Act complete the central reverse design.

The progressive nature of this theme is further highlighted by the addition of innovative micro-engraving of the complete lyrics of our national anthem along the rim.

The coin’s obverse features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

“The Official Languages Act, adopted half a century ago, was, and still is, part of a broader movement to recognize the language rights of Canadians,” said Théberge. “Canada’s linguistic duality is a powerful symbol of openness, empathy and respect.”

Limited to a mintage of 15,000 pieces, the $10 coin is slated to launch this September.

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