The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled designs for a series of circulating coins that celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial.
Canada turns 150 in 2017 and the RCM will strike new designs on 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent, loonie and toonie coins to commemorate the anniversary.
A national design contest, My Canada, My Inspiration, kicked off in March 2015 when the RCM asked Canadians to create new designs from five theme perspectives: Our Wonders, Our Character, Our Achievements, Our Passions, and Canada’s Future.
The public cast more than 1 million votes for designs that numbered in the thousands. The finalists in each class were determined by the RCM and a panel of notable Canadians. Canadians then voted and selected a final design for each category in September 2015.
On Wednesday, Nov. 2, unveiling ceremonies happened simultaneously in the hometowns of each winning coin designer.
2017 5-Cent Circulation Coin Design
A beaver will remain on the reverse of the upcoming 5-cent coin. Digitally created by graphic designer Gerald Gloade and celebrating the theme Our Passions, the image features a solitary beaver in the water.
Gloade’s illustration, calling Living Traditions, was influenced by his northeastern woodland Algonkian heritage and the wildlife theme of Canada’s 1967 commemorative centennial coins, according to the RCM.
"As a proud Mi’kmaw, I was inspired to re-imagine the beaver of our traditional five-cent coin through the eyes of my own First Nations culture," Gloade said.
Surrounding the beaver are inscriptions of CANADA, 1867-2017, 5 CENTS, and GG for Gloade’s initials.
2017 10-Cent Circulation Coin Design
Designed by Amy Choi and celebrating the theme Our Character, the reverse of the upcoming 10-cent coin shows an airborne maple leaf that forms the wings and tail of a dove.
Choi was able to illustrate what she felt Canada achieved in its first 150 years through a work entitled Wings of Peace, according to the RCM.
"My coin design expresses the hope that, one day, the offering of the maple leaf will be as symbolic as the offering of an olive branch," Choi said. "Since Canada is known world-wide for its desire to promote peace, cooperation and diversity, I was moved to combine the maple leaf and the dove as my way to show what I admire most about my country."
Around the maple leaf are inscriptions of CANADA, 1867-2017, 10 CENTS, and AC for Choi’s initials.
2017 25-Cent Circulation Coin Design
Created by Joelle Wong when she was eight years old, the upcoming 25-cent coin celebrates the theme Canada’s Future. It depicts a turtle, bird and beaver, all decorated with aboriginal patterns, reaching for a plant growing out of a pair of hands. The design symbolizes how Canadians are all connected in protecting its nature.
Wong worked with one of her teachers to research Canadian wildlife and indigenous art techniques to develop her painting of animals commonly represented in aboriginal culture, the RCM stated.
"I love animals and green spaces and that gave me the idea of showing my hope for Canada’s future in a painting that celebrates the importance of our nature and native Canadian culture," Wong said.
Around the scene are inscriptions of CANADA, 1867-2017, 25 CENTS, and JW for Wong’s initials.
2017 Dollar Circulation Coin Design
Wesley Klassen designed the upcoming dollar, which features major landmarks and celebrates the theme Our Achievements.
The RCM noted that Klassen’s design illustrates the iconic engineering achievements which dominate the Canadian landscape from east to west. It depicts landmarks like Lion’s Gate Bridge, a prairie grain elevator, the CN Tower, Quebec City’s majestic Chateau Frontenac Hotel and an East Coast lighthouse.
"I chose images that are in one way or another connected to the railroad, for which all Canadians can be forever grateful, and I’m touched that my design appealed to so many of them," Klassen said.
Above the depictions are inscriptions of CANADA and 1867-2017. Below them are DOLLAR and WK for Klassen’s initials.
2017 Two Dollar Circulation Coin Design
Designed by Dr. Timothy Hsia and celebrating the theme Our Wonders, the upcoming two-dollar coin depicts the northern lights.
The reverse shows a pair of paddlers dwarfed by a night sky that is alive with the ever-shifting movement of the Aurora Borealis. The paddlers pause and gaze awestruck in wonder of the mesmerizing scene unfolding above them.
"The northern lights are a true Canadian wonder, one that all Canadians from sea to sea can appreciate and call their own. To me, this radiant light display embodies Canada’s unity and beauty," Hsia said. "I titled my design ‘Dance of the Spirits’ after how the Cree people attribute the northern lights to the special moment when the spirits manifest themselves, dancing, to the human eyes and minds below."
Around the scene are inscriptions of CANADA, 1867, 2017, 2 DOLLARS, and TH for Hsia’s initials. There are also two maples leaves above and below.
Obverses of 2017 coins will continue to feature Susan Blunt’s effigy of the Queen with inscriptions of Queen Elizabeth II, D G, and REGINA.
In addition and new, they include the CANADA 150 logo.
Release in Spring 2017
Each 2017 coin will feature one of the winning designs and Canadians will be able to find them in their change next spring. The RCM is also launching an extensive collector coin program in celebration of Canada’s 150 birthday.