A previous version of this story referred to V-E Day; however, the Mint’s new $2 circulation coin marks the Second World War’s official end, which came about a month later when Japan agreed to the ‘Japanese Instrument of Surrender.’
The Royal Canadian Mint has launched a $2 circulation coin celebrating the 75th anniversary of the official end of the Second World War.
Symbolic of the heroic accomplishment, a “V” for Victory is prominently featured on the new commemorative coin, unveiled on Sept. 2 to honour the Canadians who defeated the Axis powers after half a decade of service on the battlefield and the home front. The new issue echoes the five-cent coins released by Canada during the Second World War, when the reverse beaver design was briefly replaced with Victory motifs.
“The Royal Canadian Mint’s tradition of honouring our troops through coins goes all the way back to 1943, when Chief Engraver Thomas Shingles created the first ‘Victory’ nickel that called on all Canadians to work together to win the Second World War,” said Mintmaster Marie Lemay, who has served as the Crown corporation’s president and CEO since February 2019.
‘V’ FOR VICTORY
The “V” for Victory on the inner core of the new toonie served as a rallying call to support the country’s Second World War effort. The letter is overlaid with a flaming torch and flanked by maple leaves over the dates 1945 and 2020.
On the outer ring, the words “VICTORY” and “VICTOIRE” appear alongside a message engraved in Morse code – “We win when we work willingly” and “La bonne volonté est gage de victoire,” both of which first appeared on Canada’s wartime Victory coins.
The obverse of the new circulation coin features Canadian artist Susanna Blunt’s 2003 effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.
The issue is limited to a mintage of three million coins, two million of which will feature colour. Since entering circulation on Sept. 2, the coins will be available in change as bank branches and businesses replenish their toonie inventories.
“For nearly six years, Canadians serving in uniform or chipping in at home played a vital role in achieving a hard-won peace,” said Lawrence MacAulay, minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence.
“The Royal Canadian Mint’s circulation coin issued on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War is a fitting tribute to their legacy of bravery, of service, and of tremendous sacrifice. They have our enduring thanks, and I hope we can all live up to that legacy as this coin changes hands from one generation to the next.”
In addition to the coloured and uncoloured $2 circulation coins, the Mint is also issuing several related collector products.
A total of 15,000 coloured and 5,000 uncoloured special wrap rolls, each with 25 uncirculated coins, retail for $79.95.
Collectors can also purchase a keepsake set featuring both versions of the commemorative circulation coin along with uncirculated versions of the Mint’s 2020 classic circulation coins (with four denominations, including five cents, 10 cents, 25 cents and $1). With a mintage of 100,000, this set retails for $22.95.
Several other V-E Day issues, including a $1 Fine silver proof coin, a 14-karat gold $100 coin and the 2020 Fine Silver Proof Set, were also issued by the Mint as part of its January numismatic catalogue.
THE WAR IS OVER
Victory in Europe (V-E) marked the end of fighting in Europe during the Second World War.
Since 1945, it’s been celebrated annually in Canada on May 8, a day after Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender. While the war with Japan continued until that country’s surrender on Aug. 15, 1945, war-weary Canadians celebrated the end of the European conflict with events across the country.
About a month later, on Sept. 2, 1945, representatives from the Japanese government met with Allied forces to sign the “Japanese Instrument of Surrender,” officially ending the war.
“I was in London, England, when victory was declared and the city erupted in one huge celebration,” said Second World War veteran Betty Bell, of the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division, who resides at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre in Ottawa.
“The crowd danced and sang in the streets of Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square. Servicemen were sitting on top of lamp posts above the cheering crowd. Victory had been won at a price, but now Europe was free and the lights were on again. No more blackout, no more bombs.”
For more information about the Victory coins, visit mint.ca/victory.