On today’s date in 1999, Canadians from coast to coast celebrated the creation of Canada’s youngest territory, Nunavut.
That year, the Royal Canadian Mint struck a $2 Proof gold coin to mark the territory’s creation. The coin’s reverse, designed by Germaine Arnaktauyok, features an Inuit dancer with a drum bearing an outlined map of the territory. A stone lamp is depicted inside the map to symbolize warmth, security and hope for the future. The coin has a weight of 11.4 grams, a thickness of 1.8 mm, and a diameter of 28 mm.
In 2009, the Mint struck another 5,000 gold coins, these with a face value of $100, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Nunavut. The coin depicts a hunter performing a drum dance with past and future generations symbolized by the faces above. The coin has a weight of 12 grams and a 27-mm diameter.
The Mint struck another 14-karat gold coin in 2012, this with a limited mintage of 500 pieces, as part of its Provincial Coat of Arms series.
Nunavut’s Coat of Arms was granted by Governor General Roméo LeBlanc in 1999. It was created by Inuit artist Andrew Qappik in partnership with the Canadian Heraldic Authority and the elders and leaders of Nunavut to create a distinct blend of ancient Inuit symbolism and European heraldic tradition. Resting upon the shield is an iglu, which was essential to survival and represents the traditional way of Inuit life and the modern gathering of legislative members. The territory’s status in Confederation is symbolized by the Royal Crown above. Holding the shield are a tuktu (caribou) and quilalugaq tuugaalik (narwhal). The motto is written in Inuktitut, which reads “Nunavut Sanginivut” (Nunavut our strength).
The $300 gold coin has a weight of 60 grams and a diameter of 50 mm.