On today’s date in 1773, a bust of King George III was unveiled in the Place d’Armes in Montréal, Qué.
This monument was the first-known public monument in Montréal. Despite being erected earlier in the year, it wasn’t unveiled until Oct. 7, 1773.
Two years later, on May 1, 1775, the bust was found defaced in an attempt to denounce the Quebec Act, which guaranteed the use of French language across the land. The culprit was never found, and the bust disappeared soon after, during the American invasion of Montreal (November 1775-June 1776) and was found several years later at the bottom of a well in the Place d’Armes.
In 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint commemorated King George III and his iconic “Peace Medal,” which were given to First Nations chiefs dating back to the 17th century, with a one-kilogram Fine silver coin.
Peace medals were first given by the government of King Louis XIV of France in the 1670s. Around the same time, the British government of King Charles II was presenting similar medals to First Nations peoples living in British colonies in what’s now the eastern U.S. However, when Britain gained control of France’s North American colonies after the Seven Years’ War (1756-63), the French peace medals were replaced by British peace medals featuring King George II and, later, his grandson, George III.
The Mint’s 2012 Peace Medal coin is composed of 99.99 per cent Fine silver and has a face value of $250. Its design features both the reverse and obverse sides of the King George III Peace Medal, including the young, armoured bust of King George III wearing the ribbon of the Order of the Garter. To his right is the Arms of George III, which appeared on the reverse of the peace medals during the War of 1812. Beneath the Coat of Arms is a ribbon bearing the royal motto, “Dieu, et Mon Droit” (God and My Right) flanked by the symbolic rose and thistle of British monarchy.
The coin has a weight of 1,000 grams, a diameter of 102.1 mm, and a limited mintage of 600.