By Jesse Robitaille
Each year, the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) works alongside the host club for its annual convention – which is underway today until Sunday in Halifax, N.S. – to design a themed medal.
This year, the RCNA has teamed up with Ken Christopher, a member of the Halifax Regional Coin Club (HRCC), the host club for this year’s convention, to strike a medal that highlights the heritage of Nova Scotia.
Christopher, who’s also the convention medals chair and publicity co-chair, created the medal’s design, which prominently features the Bluenose schooner, a significant symbol of Nova Scotia in the decade following its initial launch. What’s more, the Bluenose has appeared on the back of Canada’s 10-cent coin for nearly 80 years.
Paul Johnson, RCNA executive secretary and finance chair, said he’s very pleased with Christopher’s design.
“It’s a beautiful-looking medal, and it’s very appropriate for the convention in Halifax because it’s a major symbol of Nova Scotia. We’re quite pleased,” said Johnson, who added both the bronze and silver editions are nearly sold out. “It means people are liking it, or they wouldn’t be buying it. There’s a big demand for them, and that’s a good thing.”
A PART OF CANADIAN HISTORY
A prominent part of Canadian history, Nova Scotia – or “New Scotland” in Latin – can trace its roots back to the late 1500s, when the Mi’kmaq, a First Nations people indigenous to the Maritime Provinces, the Gaspé Peninsula Quebec and northeastern New England, occupied the small province.
Eventually, European colonialists would settle in the area; however, it would not come without conflict, and six wars broke out between the Mi’kmaq, the Acadians, the French and the British.
The conflict would continue until June 25, 1761, in what’s known as the Burying the Hatchet Ceremony, which ended more than 75 years of war, during which the capital was moved from Annapolis Royal to Halifax, home of this year’s RCNA Convention.
It seems the beloved Bluenose took its name from local slang, which saw the term as a nickname for the inhabitants of Nova Scotia.
During the 1760s, when the term was first coined, the province experienced economic growth, with several national and international businesses being established, including the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Soon after, in what’s referred to as the Golden Age of Sail, the Bluenosers became world leaders in building wooden sailing ships, producing several internationally acclaimed ship builders and amassing quite the fleet of ships itself.
The Bluenose was built in 1921 by Smith and Rhuland, a shipyard in Lunenburg, N.S. On March 26, the schooner was launched, and after a season fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland under the command of Angus Walters, it was able to return the International Fisherman’s Trophy to Nova Scotia.
From 1931-38, through 17 years of racing, no challenger could wrest the International Fisherman’s Trophy from the Bluenose. Walters would captain the schooner to five international sailing titles in his nearly two-decade undefeated run.
However, as fishing schooners became obsolete towards the end of the decade, the Bluenose was sold to work as a freighter in the West Indies. Eventually, it struck a coral reef off Haiti in January 1946. Thankfully, there was no loss of life, but the schooner was damaged beyond repair and left abandoned on the reef.
NEARLY SOLD OUT
While a special copper medal is included with each main and junior registration kit, a bronze medal was included with each pre-registration kit. Additional medals can be ordered for $20.
The mintage for the bronze medal, of which about 150 were mailed out with pre-registration kits, is 190. The silver medal has a mintage of 55.
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