One of the first duties the Queen had while visiting Halifax to celebrate the centennial of Canada’s navy was to unveil a new $1 circulating coin featuring the image of a Halifax-class frigate.
The image of the new loonie was unveiled June 29 by the Queen and Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Wardroom at Canadian Forces Base Halifax at a luncheon for about 300 invited guests. Following the luncheon, the Queen, Prince Philip and Harper toured the International Fleet Review of 28 Canadian and allied warships stationed in the Bedford Basin as part of the celebrations.
The Wardroom is in the Juno Tower which serves as a mess and accommodations for officers, chiefs and petty officers at the base. Revenue Minister Keith Ashfield acted as host, filling in for Defence Minister Peter MacKay who was in Trenton, Ont. MacKay was attending the repatriation of the bodies of Master Corporal Kristal Giesebrecht and Private Andrew Miller, two medics killed by an improvised explosive devise southwest of Kandahar City on June 26.
The reverse of the coin features the frigate in the background with two navy figures saluting in the foreground. The first is a naval serviceman in a 1910 uniform while the other is a contemporary female naval officer. An anchor at the top of the design symbolizes Canada’s naval service.
The design is by Nova Scotia artist Bonnie Ross who has designed several collector coins for the Royal Canadian Mint, including the Three-Mast Ship and Brigantine coins from the 2005-2007 Fine Silver Tall Ships series. Ross has also designed several postage stamps for Canada Post Corporation.
The obverse bears the effigy of the Queen created by Canadian portrait artist Susanna Blunt which has been appearing on Canada’s coinage since 2003.
“The mint recognizes the distinguished 100-year history of the Canadian navy and is delighted to issue a commemorative circulation coin which honours the men and women who bravely served and continue to serve in Canada’s naval service,” said the mint’s President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Bennett. “We are pleased that by collecting this coin, millions of Canadians will have a permanent reminder of (the navy’s) century of achievement.”
Two days after the unveiling, the public was invited to exchange their loonies for the new coins at a special Canada Day event at Canada Place in Vancouver.
Earlier this year the Royal Canadian Mint released a selection of limited-edition sterling silver coins featuring Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Sackville, the only surviving corvette from the Second World War which now acts as Canada’s Naval Memorial. The collectors’ pieces included a 2010 Proof Silver Dollar at $52.95, a Brilliant Uncirculated Silver Dollar at $46.95 and a selectively gold-plated Proof Silver Dollar exclusive to the 2010 Proof Set at $109.95.
Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, the Chief of Maritime Staff said, “The naval centennial commemorative circulation coins will create a public awareness of the role that the Canadian navy has played over the past 100 years. The coins are visible, practical reminders that the country is served, in both war and peace, by the men and women of the naval service who safeguard Canada and its values.”
The collector coins are available by calling the mint at 1-800-267-1871, online at www.mint.ca/navy or by visiting the mint’s stores in Ottawa and Winnipeg.