March 11, 2015 11:36 am
Updated: March 12, 2015 9:39 am

Royal Canadian Mint launches contest to design special coins for Canada’s 150th anniversary


Is your Canada defined by Mounties, maple leaves and hockey pucks? Or are toques, guitars and eating donuts your personal symbols of our country?

Calling all Canadians with an artistic flare and a sense of national pride: The Royal Canadian Mint’s My Canada, My Inspiration contest is seeking five designs for our toonie, loonie, quarter, dime and nickel coins to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

Canvas on a coin

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Our dollar coin—which we all know as the loonie—has always been a canvas for Canadian artists saluting our heritage and character. Wildlife artist, Robert-Ralph Carmichael, created the first loonie design in 1986 when paper dollars were phased out. Since then the coin has featured images of Terry Fox, the National War Memorial, the Peacekeeping Monument and the Parliament Buildings. As well, the Mint produced a ‘lucky loonie’ for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The Royal Canadian Mint has a history of celebrating Canadian art on our coins. Famed painter Alex Colville designed the wildlife images for our centennial coins in 1967. The Mint has also been actively promoting the culture of our nation and the artwork of young Canadians through various projects and contests.

My Canada, My Inspiration

My Canada, My Inspiration is a celebration of Canada’s culture, heroes and natural beauty. The contest will choose winning designs from the themes of Our Wonders, Our Character, Our Achievements and Our Passions. One theme, Our Future, is specifically open to children under 12.

The Mint is particularly looking for fresh images and ideas from young designers and artists to give us unique and interesting visions of Canada.

My Canada, My Inspiration is open to all Canadians from professional artists to anyone with a love of drawing. The winner in each category will have their coin minted and circulated as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Each winner will also receive a trip to Ottawa, $2,000 in cash and participate in the unveiling of the new designs. The winning coins will be part of a larger series of new coins minted for our special birthday, the Canada 150 Collection.

Our Achievements, Character, Passions, Wonders and Future

As we all learned in grade school, Canada came into being July 1, 1867 with Sir John A. Macdonald as our first prime minister. The past 150 years have been good to us and we have grown from a colonial collection of four provinces to a prominent member of the international community whose achievements and reputation are respected and envied around the world.

For the theme of Wonders, artists will have an embarrassment of riches to choose from when they consider Canada’s varied and beautiful landscapes, flora and fauna.

How to portray Canada’s personality, our politeness, our welcoming nature, our tolerance and sense of fun is the challenge for the theme of Character.

For Achievements, Canada has a world-class reputation in a host of categories, from the arts to sciences, sports and wartime heroics. From the televised interstellar feats of William Shatner to the real-life space exploits of Chris Hatfield, the successes of our country rest on the dynamism, perseverance and ambition of our citizens.

The theme of Passion will no doubt bring to mind our national pastime and obsession, hockey. But what other preoccupations should be etched into our coin? Curling or canoeing? Enjoying the cottage? Rockin’ to your favorite band or tucking into ethnic cuisine?

Children are especially encouraged to participate in the Future category. Kids can use their aspirations, dreams and imaginations to envision what the Canada of tomorrow will look like.

My Canada, My Inspiration is open to all Canadians with a special category open to children under 12. For full contest information and rules, click here. (

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