On today’s date in 1989, the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II used on all Canadian coinage was updated for the upcoming 1990 issue, showing a portrait designed by a Canadian for the first time.
To date, there have been four different obverse portrait designs of Queen Elizabeth II used on Canadian coinage, with new portraits introduced in 1953, 1965, 1990 and 2003. Before 1990, the Queen’s portraits – by Mary Gillick in ’53 and Arnold Machin in ’65 – were designed by Britain’s Royal Mint and bore resemblance to those used on other commonwealth coinage.
However, Canadian artists designed the 1990 and 2003 portraits, with the 1990 effigy by Dora dePedery-Hunt and the 2003 effigy by Susanna Blunt. They are both unique to Canadian coinage.
The next day, on June 27, 1989, the Royal Canadian Mint began striking coins dated 1990 and bearing the new portrait of the Queen for circulation the following year.