On today’s date in 1970, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 1976 Summer Olympic Games to Montréal, Qué., which would become the first Canadian city to host the Olympics.
Held six years later, on July 17-Aug. 1, 1976, that year’s Summer Olympics, Canada placed 27th on the medal table with only 11 medals, none of which were gold.
As athletes were gearing up for the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Royal Canadian Mint also began a novel program for the government of prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau: the coins to struck in honour of the 1976 Summer Olympics would also help finance the massive undertaking.
Beginning in February 1973, the Mint planned to produce 30 coins, including 28 silver pieces in denominations of $5 and $10 plus two gold coins. It was the first time the Mint issued coins in denominations of $5 and $10.
The coins were categorized into seven series with each series configured into four-coin sets of two $5 coins plus two $10 coins.
The seven series were:
- Olympic motifs;
- early Canadian sports;
- Olympic track and field sports;
- Olympic water sports;
- Olympic team and body contact sports; and
- Olympic souvenirs.
All 28 coins were designed in a similar fashion with the top aspect of the coin depicting the Olympic logo, its denomination and the wording in the same spot. The finishes consisted of two different styles never used on Canadian coinage before—the first was a frosted effect that adorned the coin, and the second was a Proof finish consisting of frosted lettering against a mirror field.
It was all a first for the Mint, which obtained special equipment to complete the designs.