By Jesse Robitaille
If you’ve ever looked down at your spare change and thought, “Boy, I sure do wish they’d let us decide what goes on these things for once,” then you’re in luck (and you’d also be fairly forgetful, seeing as the Royal Canadian Mint has held public design contests in the past).
Mint spokesperson Alex Reeves said the nationwide “My Design, My Inspiration” contest is open for voting throughout the month of September. And while the Mint chose the top 10 designs for each of the five categories, Reeves said a “panel of notable Canadians” (see sidebar) helped whittle down that list even further.
Now, with five finalists chosen for each of the five categories, the designs are vying for a spot on Canada’s circulation coinage for 2017, which will mark the 150th anniversary since Canadian Confederation.
“Each circulating denomination will feature one of these categories,” said Reeves. “The public only votes on the categories, as the assignment to a specific denomination will be determined only after winning designs are chosen.”
Reeves said the designs were chosen based on their “esthetic appeal, the clarity of the coin design, their potential for broad appeal, clarity of the message and the feasibility of transferring the design to a coin.”
Overall, the Mint received nearly 10,000 submissions.
“All the judges involved in the selection process found their experience very rewarding due to the variety and quality of submissions received.”
In March, the Mint invited Canadians to join in the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday by designing the loonies, toonies and 5-, 10- and 25-cent coins that will circulate in 2017.
“As a curator of our nation’s history, culture and values, the Mint is in a unique position to offer Canadians a rare, once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the face of our circulation coinage as a lasting tribute to Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation,” said Sandra Hanington, Mint president and CEO.
The five categories include: “Our Wonders,” which celebrates Canada’s beauty; “Our Character,” which celebrates Canadian identity; “Our Achievements,” which celebrates the country’s discoveries, exploration and victories; “Our Passions,” which commemorates anything from culture to sports and pastimes; and “Canada’s Future,” which was reserved for Canadians no older than the age of 12.
Now that the finalists have been chosen, it’s up to you to choose the winning designs, which will then be in the hands of Canadians from coast to coast to coast come 2017.
Reeves said the Mint hopes to boost public awareness of the month-long voting period on social media.
“Users who visit mint.ca/canada150 to vote will be prompted to share their coin selections, including an image, on their social media profiles,” he said. “We will be promoting the vote phase with Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest posts, highlighting each of the coins in the five categories and linking to the vote website.”
Previously, the Mint held public contests to design 25-cent coins for Canada 125 in 1992 and Millennium celebrations in 1999-2000.
To vote, visit mint.ca/canada150.