Coins commemorate Canada’s oceans

Today, June 8, is World Oceans Day.

It has been unofficially celebrated every June 8 since it was originally proposal in 1992 – by Canada – at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2008, it was officially recognized by the United Nations and has been co-ordinated by The Ocean Project since 2003. According to organizers, participation has continued to increase each year since its inception.

This year, people are celebrating with the theme “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.” Organizers said the aim is to promote prevention of plastic ocean pollution with community events, special announcements, “and everything in between.”

One of four 'Ocean Giants' coins, this featuring the humpback whale.

One of four ‘Ocean Giants’ coins, this featuring the humpback whale.

In 1998, six years after representatives from Canada first proposed World Oceans Day, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a four-coin series celebrating “Canada’s Ocean Giants.” Designed by artist Pierre Leduc, the series features four whales—Orcinus orca (the killer); Megaptera novaeangliae (the humpback); Delphinapterus leucas (the beluga); and Balaenoptera musculus (the blue whale)—that live just beyond Canada’s coastline. Each of the series’ coins had a face value of 50 cents, a weight of 9.3 grams and a 27.13-mm diameter.

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