Happy Canada Day from all of us at CCN!
On today’s date in 1873 – six years after Canadian Confederation in 1867 – Prince Edward Island became Canada’s seventh province.
Formerly a British colony (and before that a French colony), Prince Edward Island joined the Confederation on the same terms as British Columbia: its own provincial government was established with annual grants and debt takeover after $4 million in railway debt nearly bankrupted the former colony.
1864 CHARLOTTETOWN CONFERENCE
In September 1864, Prince Edward Island hosted the Charlottetown Conference, which was a precursor to Canadian Confederation in 1867.
Government officials eventually found the terms of union unfavourable and refused to join, choosing instead to remain a colony of the British Empire.
Leading up to the 1870s, the colony explored its options, which included the possibility of becoming its own dominion or even joining the U.S.
In 1871, the colony began the construction of a railway and began early negotiations with the U.S.
Two years later, former prime minister John A. Macdonald – always a critic of U.S. expansionism – negotiated to have Prince Edward Island join Canada. The Government of Canada would assume the colony’s extensive railway debt, and Prince Edward Island entered the Confederation on July 1, 1873.
1973 PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND MEDAL SET
In 1973, to mark the centennial of Prince Edward Island joining the Confederation, the Royal Canadian Mint struck a set of four medals, including red brass, bronze, cupro-nickel and silver editions.
A 38-gram, 12-karat gold Gem Proof medal was also struck by the Mint; however, according to a Heritage Auctions catalogue from the 2010 Chicago International Coin Fair sale, most of these gold medals were melted down, and as such, are “very scarce.”
CANADA 150 COINS
To celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial, the Mint also launched a collection of coins representing the country’s identity, collective pride and significant heritage.
Among the highlights of the Mint’s Canada 150 collection is a Proof silver dollar commemorating 150 years of Canadian Confederation. This 2017-dated pure silver dollar offers a bold, modern take on tradition through a symbolic image of Canada. The coin was the 58th issue of the Mint’s Proof Fine silver dollar coin.
Designed by Canadian artist Rebecca Yanovskaya, the coin features a contemporary take on a classic female allegory that personifies Canada. Every element in the complex reverse design represents a different political, historical, geographic and social aspect. In the foreground, Canada rises up; she bears a youthful appearance, owing to Canada’s status as a relatively young nation. Canada is the picture of grace and a vision of strength in her protective armour, and yet, she carries no weapon—a symbolic nod to Canada’s historic peacekeeping role, and our efforts to bring peace throughout the world. Her brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of poppies, much as the lyrics to O Canada affirm in French.
In one hand is a symbolic representation of the British North America Act, which represents the birth of the Dominion of Canada 150 years ago; in the other hand is a single feather that pays tribute to those who helped forge our nation’s path: the First Nations peoples and the Fathers of Confederation. A fur cape is a further reminder of First Nations traditions as well as the importance of the fur trade in Canada’s early history.
Thirteen rays of light – one for each province and territory – shine down upon Canada, while the waves at her feet represent the oceans that surround us. The Canadian banners link air, land and sea while in the background, Mount Logan (Canada’s tallest peak) represents the diversity of the land, and alludes to the ability of Canadians to “rise” to the challenges we face.
The coin has a weight of 23.17 grams, a 36.07-millimetre diameter and a mintage of 30,000 pieces.