OTD: Canadian children raise $260,000 for UNICEF

On today’s date in 1961, the Government of Canada presented a cheque for $260,000 – all collected by Canadian children – to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The cheque was presented by Robert LeBlanc, a 12-year-old boy from Montreal, to Maurice Pate, then executive director of UNICEF, at United Nations headquarters in New York.

“We would like UNICEF to accept this gift to help the children throughout the world receive food and medicine,” LeBlanc was quoted as saying – in French and then English – in a story published April 7, 1961, by the Canadian Press.

An estimated 300,000 Canadian children participated in the fundraising campaign.


Between 1979 and 1981, UNICEF sponsored several international commemorative coin issues, including a collection of 12 gold coins from Canada, Bolivia, China, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Jordan, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

There were also other coins issued by other countries, including Lesotho, South Africa and Surinam.

In 1979, the Royal Canadian Mint struck a $100 22-karat gold Proof coin to commemorate the International Year of the Child, which was proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Designed by Carola Tietz, the coin’s design features six children playing and holding hands in a winding line. To the right is “1979 / Canada” and a symbol of the world with the face value $100 appearing to the left. The coin had a mintage of 250,000 pieces.


UNICEF claims to have helped more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization.

“We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief, and more,” notes the UNICEF Canada website.

UNICEF Canada is a Canadian non-governmental charity organization established more than 50 years ago and supported entirely by voluntary donations. It is one of 36 national committees around the world that help generate revenue, public support and awareness for UNICEF’s work as advocates for the protection and realization of children’s rights. The organization helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics.

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