On today’s date in 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint announced it was partnering with Canadian Geographic to host the fourth annual Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year contest.
Canadians were invited to submit up to 10 photographs of Canadian wildlife in any of the five contest categories, which included:
- Amphibians, Reptiles and Insects;
- People and Pets; and
- Junior Photographer (ages 15 and under).
The contest, which eventually closed on Sept. 2, 2011, saw the winning entry depicted on a 2012 $10 Fine silver coin. The Mint also awarded prizes to the contest’s five category winners, 10 runner-ups and 15 honourable mentions.
The grand prize winner and five category winners also saw their entries published in the December 2011 issue of Canadian Geographic. The winners’ submissions were also showcased in a wildlife photography exhibit that debuted at the Canadian Museum of Nature in 2012.
On June 7, 2012, the Mint unveiled the $10 Fine silver coin, “Canadian Geographic Photo Contest – Praying Mantis,” which features the work of Montréal’s Robert Ganz, the grand prize winner in the fourth annual Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year contest.
The coin’s reverse side features a praying mantis clinging to the underside of a tufted grass flower. The sharp contours of the mantis’ body contrast the soft texture of the downward-curving plant. The coin has a weight of 15.87 grams, a 34-millimetre diameter and a mintage of 7,500 pieces.
“The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to celebrate both our nation’s talent and natural beauty by reproducing a stunning Canadian wildlife photograph on an eye-catching collector coin,” said Ian E. Bennett, then Mint president and CEO. “The breathtaking moment captured by the lens of Robert Ganz can now live on for the enjoyment of coin collectors and nature lovers worldwide thanks to the crafting of a fine new silver collector coin from the Royal Canadian Mint.”
The contest attested to “the artistry, talent and determination of the photographers who are keen to share with other Canadians their own fascination with wildlife,” said André Préfontaine, then executive director of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
“As a result of the unique partnership of the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Royal Canadian Mint and Canadian Geographic, Canadians will have unprecedented access to this year’s winning photos that are featured in the exhibition, on a collector coin and in the magazine.”